March 22, 2012
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today announced a Full Committee meeting
for Wednesday, March 28th
at 10:00 a.m. to consider a motion to authorize the Chairman to issue subpoenas for the production of documents relating to two long-running oversight investigations.
The investigations relate to the Obama Administration’s rewrite of a coal production regulation and why an Obama Administration report that recommended a six-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico was edited to make it appear as though the moratorium was supported by a panel of engineering experts when in fact it was not.
Chairman Hastings also released a briefing memo to Republican Committee Members on the importance of these oversight investigations and why it is necessary to issue subpoenas to compel production of these documents.
“Both investigations have been ongoing for over one year – and both matters raise serious questions about the actions of the Obama Administration, the resulting significant impact on the economy, and thousands of lost American jobs,” writes Hastings in the memo.
In the investigation, specific document requests have been made to the Department of the Interior. The Department has not met a single deadline for producing all of the requested information and continues to withhold the vast majority of requested materials. This includes over 30 hours of digital audio recordings of meetings and conversations between the Department and contractors regarding rewrite of the coal production regulation. The Department has also intervened to block the Acting Inspector General from providing 13 separate documents to the Committee that were collected during its investigation into the edits recommending the six-month drilling moratorium.
“In stark contrast to President Obama’s pledge of unprecedented transparency, the Administration has taken deliberate steps to avoid openness and prevent disclosure of information about these actions,” continues Hastings in the memo. “Regrettably, in both these matters, where thousands of livelihoods and American energy production are at stake, the Obama Administration has chosen to spend over a year hiding its actions and decision-making from the Congress.”
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