PBS's NOW: When veteran government auditor Bobby Maxwell learned oil giant Kerr McGee was not paying the $10 million he says it owed in oil roya
May 10, 2007
When veteran government auditor Bobby Maxwell learned oil giant Kerr McGee was not paying the $10 million he says it owed in oil royalties, he prepared an order to Kerr McGee to pay up. Making sure the government gets its money from energy companies was Maxwell's job in the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a division of the Department of the Interior.

But Maxwell claims his bosses at the MMS quashed that order. After filing a lawsuit under the False Claims Act, which protects and encourages whistleblowers, Maxwell lost his job. On Friday, May 11, NOW talks with Maxwell about the personal and professional price he says he paid in pursuit of fairness, and examines an industry under fire for keeping too much of the enormous revenue it makes for drilling on land and waters owned by us all. Are oil and gas companies being protected -- and even feted -- by the government agency charged with regulating them?

"I felt very strongly that the American taxpayers just had $10 million stolen out of their pocket," Maxwell tells NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa. "And that that needed to be remedied."

Also on the show, a look at growing - and novel -- nationwide efforts to force action on global warming. Is humor part of the solution?

The NOW website will provide additional coverage starting Friday, May 11, including a closer look at whistleblower rights and protections, and how politicians and Presidential candidates are responding to the call for more action on climate control.

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