Secret State Deal with Exxon Revealed
From the Sublette Examiner, Thursday, September 18, 2003
Sublette County Commissioner Bill Cramer said, “This proves what I’ve said all along, that the ex-governor was a whore for industry.”
He was responding to revelations that the State of Wyoming and the Exxon Corporation had secretly joined forces in 1997 to defend against Sublette County’s challenge to the Wyoming Department of Revenue’s valuation of Exxon’s gas production.
According a story by Cat Urbigkit in the Examiner, “Former Governor Jim Geringer’s administration had aligned itself with Exxon against the county, but the existence of the ‘joint defense’ agreement hadn’t been publicly revealed.”
Under the administration of new governor Dave Freudenthal, who had campaigned in part on the mineral taxation issue, the Sublette County case will see the light of day, with Board of Equalization hearings scheduled for January 2004.
Meanwhile, Geringer’s former cabinet-level Department of Revenue head Johnnie Burton, who had a major role defending the state’s position, is now heading the federal Minerals Management Service in the Department of Interior.
Geringer himself is now an executive with ESRI, a software company providing GIS tools to many players in the minerals extraction industry. An ESRI press release quotes him as a big promoter of GIS technology in Wyoming: “Geringer says the goal of these efforts was to increase communication and data sharing between and among various agencies at different government levels-federal, state, and local-resulting in better management and greater efficiency in government.”
Why did Geringer forget to mention data sharing with the likes of Exxon? And how has Burton incorporated this “greater efficiency” of data sharing with private companies into the federal administration?