The U.S. Interior Department’s top watchdog, Inspector General Earl Devaney, blasted the department before Congress on Sept. 13 for waiving billions of dollars in federal royalty payments from oil and gas companies. He’s also disgusted by the department’s refusal to address conflict-of-interest issues, specifically those including J. Steven Griles, an oil and gas lobbyist-turned deputy Interior secretary, who resigned last year amid allegations of ethics breaches. "I have unfortunately watched a number of high-level Interior officials leave the department under the cloud of investigations," Devaney told Congress. "Absent criminal charges, however, they are sent off in the usual fashion, with a party paying tribute to their good service and the secretary wishing them well, to spend more time with their family or seek new opportunities."