The Road to Shell Is Paved With Bad Intentions

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is investigating whether a former secretary of the interior, Gale A. Norton, violated the law by granting valuable leases to Royal Dutch Shell around the time she was considering going to work for the company after she left office, officials said Thursday.

The officials said investigators had recently turned up information suggesting that Ms. Norton had had discussions while in office with Royal Dutch Shell about future career opportunities. In early 2006, Ms. Norton’s department awarded three tracts in Colorado to a Shell subsidiary for shale exploration. In December 2006, she joined Shell as the company’s general counsel in the United States for unconventional oils, a company spokeswoman said.

Original DVD cover

Ms. Norton, 55, was President George W. Bush’s first interior secretary. In that job, she was an ally of Vice President Dick Cheney in the administration’s general approach of opening up more federal lands for energy exploration.

The possibility that Ms. Norton violated the law by seeking employment with a company while she was a federal official in a position to benefit the company stemmed from an investigation of many months by the Interior Department’s inspector general.


For more than a year, Interior Department investigators have been looking into Ms. Norton’s dealings with Shell. They interviewed dozens of department officials about the program to lease tracts for shale exploration.

The officials from the office of inspector general recently turned over their findings to the Justice Department.


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20 responses to “The Road to Shell Is Paved With Bad Intentions

  1. Kudos, Nonnie!

    We can only hope that they make her record as a government employee an example of what not to do when your team steals the election.

    It seems odd that she was so dumb she didn’t know the rules about procuring a job on government time, but, whoops! that’s what they all did, isn’t it?


    In December 2006, she joined Shell as the company’s general counsel in the United States for unconventional oils, a company spokeswoman said.

    • thanks suzan, but the kudos go to the inspector general. i just hope it doesn’t wind up with the justice dept letting her off easy, because they’re afraid of the rethugs accusing them of being too political. it won’t matter to them that the investigation began under chimpy’s watch.

  2. Do you really think someone from the Bush administration might be corrupt & do unlawful & unethical things???

    I hope they prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

    The Bush admin– the curse that keeps giving.

  3. Friend of the court

    bush/cheney co. was pretty handy tossing the ladies under the bus. Now, she will get in trouble, like Martha Stewart, and the boys will keep on DOB as usual. Works on TV, works for wall street, and works for the criminals in the bush administration and the trash he left behind.

    • ok, i’ve tried and tried, but i can’t figure it out–dob? date of birth? dirty old bastard? doing onerous business?

      • Friend of the court

        Dang, I meant to type DBA = doing business as. I am so sorry. Dirty old bastard, works, too.

        • that’s okay, fotc, i probably wouldn’t have gotten dba either. 😕

          • I thought FOTC mean “business as usual”, but that would have been BAU. And, yes, what she did was “business as usual” under Bush.

            BTW, it could have been worse. Bush could have appointed Condi Rice to Interior instead of State. After all, she was on Chevron’s board and had a tanker named after her.

  4. An ethics violation from a former Bush administration member? I say the preponderance of evidence points to an obvious liberal media bias…

    • i’m not getting my hopes up, z. i’m still reeling over ted stevens getting away with corruption because of prosecutorial misconduct while don siegelman is left twisting in the wind.

  5. Time for my standard rant against oil shale.

    My first job after graduating with a B.S. in Geology in 1981 was to work for one of two contractors for Getty Oil (later acquired by Texaco and now subsumed in Chevron) who were trying to demonstrate the efficacy of using technology developed for oil shale to extract asphaltum from diatomaceous earth. The contractor I worked for built a pilot plant that dissolved the asphalt using hot gasoline as a solvent. That approach failed for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that the plant was built at 1/4 scale, including the pipes, which caused the gasoline-diatomite slurry to clog wherever the pipes changed direction. The other competitor built a full-sized (production-scale) retort that baked the diatomite to extract the asphalt, then centrifuged it to separate the liquid. The remaining diatomite was then blown out of the retort tower. The result was a cloud of dust that reduced visibility to 100 feet and blocked out the Sun for 5-10 miles downwind. That technology won and is among those that Chevron has on the shelf right now. If that’s what the oil shale future looks like, then the Green River Basin is going to be an ugly place. 😛

  6. writechic

    Okay, not to change the subject, but what is with Republican women…fluffy hair, mannish faces. It bugs.

    Norton was such a typical Bush appointee. She should have been protecting the “Interior,” and she exploited it. She tried to delist Yellowstone from a list of endangered World Heritage sites, she suppressed the findings of scientists in her own department. She is a total idealogue believing the laws that protected land were illegitimate; therefore, she had every right to break them.

    But at least she had convictions right? That’s more than I can say for DoJ.

  7. jeb

    Wait, didn’t everyone get the memo? If you served in Bu$hco, you were expected to (1) enrich yourself and (2) destroy the government. Sounds like she was just following the script to me.

    Maybe since this took place in Colorado, they can drop her off at the big Supermax prison there.

    • since it took place in colorado, perhaps they can tie her to a giant mylar balloon and launch it! 😉

      • Kudos to you Nonnie (also to the IG, of course) for your wit, quickness of mind and the favor you do us by running this wonderful nonsense.

        It’s a pleasure to read you everyday!


        Gale Norton: America’s Worst Idea

  8. the only other norton i can think of worked in a sewer – hence gale