The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that a number of challenges face the U.S. Interior Department in its management of the nation's oil and gas resources, including difficulty hiring, training and retaining employees in key technical positions.
The difficulty of hiring experienced workers and level of turnover in these positions, which stems in part from competition with higher salaries offered in the oil and gas industry, raises questions about the technical capacity of Interior staff to oversee oil and gas activities, a question that needs answering in efforts to prevent tragedies such as the Deepwater Horizon incident from occurring.
Examples of this turnover include the turnover rates for Offshore Energy and Minerals Management (OEMM) inspectors at four district offices. In the Lake Jackson, Texas district office, the turnover percentage for OEMM inspectors for the fiscal years 2004 through 2008 was 27 percent, with three out of 11 total employees leaving their position during that time.
The California district office had a 44 percent turnover rate, with four employees out of nine in position during the fiscal years 2004 through 2008 leaving their positions.
The combined staff at Lake Charles and New Orleans, La., had 36 workers in position from fiscal years 2004 through 2008, with 15 workers leaving their positions during that time.
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