BLACK GOLD….An Interior Department report completed last year concluded that federal incentives for oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (a) funnel tens of billions of dollars to oil companies, (b) don’t produce very much additional oil, and (c) the oil they do produce is more expensive than just buying the stuff on the open market. At least, that’s what the report would have concluded a year ago if the Bush administration had been willing to release it:

After repeated requests, the department provided a copy to The New York Times with a “note to readers” that said the report did not show the “actual effects” of incentives. Indeed, Interior officials contended that the cost of the incentives would turn out to be far less than the study concluded.

They also said that the nation benefits from even small amounts of additional domestic fossil fuels.

But industry analysts who compare oil policies around the world said the United States was much more generous to oil companies than most other countries, demanding a smaller share of revenues than others that let private companies drill on public lands and in public waters. In addition, they said, the United States has sweetened some of its incentives in recent years, while dozens of other countries demanded a bigger share of revenue.

Goodness. I’m shocked that a Republican administration didn’t want this information to become public. Just shocked.