GREEN
05/25/2010 12:00 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gulf Drilling Regulators Let Oil Companies Fill Out Their Own Inspection Reports

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators responsible for oversight of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico allowed industry officials several years ago to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil -- and then turned them over to the regulators, who traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency, according to an inspector general's report to be released this week.

The report, which describes inappropriate behavior by the staff at the Minerals Management Service from 2005 to 2007, also found that inspectors had accepted meals, tickets to sporting events and gifts from at least one oil company while they were overseeing the industry.

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Taking such gifts "appears to have been a generally accepted practice," said the report, written by department's acting inspector general, Mary L. Kendall.

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