April 25, 2012
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar regarding the Department’s refusal to comply with a subpoena issued for documents related to the Obama Administration’s decision to impose a drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, the circumstances surrounding the imposition of the 6-month Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium and the development of the Drilling Moratorium Report, including whether it was intentionally edited to incorrectly state the views of the peer reviewers. Today marks exactly one year since the Committee sent its first letter to the Department asking for documents regarding the editing of a report that made it appear as though the moratorium was supported by a panel of engineering experts when it was not.
The Hastings letter to Secretary Salazar clearly outlines the Department’s refusal to cooperate with the Committee’s investigation and violation of an official subpoena for documents, all while flagrantly flaunting President Obama’s pledge of unprecedented openness and transparency.
“In failing to comply with the subpoena, the Department’s official response does not live up to your publicly stated pledge of doing ‘everything we can to cooperate’ and similarly fails to uphold President Obama’s pledge of unprecedented transparency by his Administration. Thousands of lost jobs and higher energy prices are serious and important, and the refusal to comply with an official Congressional subpoena examining these matters is even more serious,” wrote Chairman Hastings. “If the Department is [as] comfortable in defending its action...then it should cease its year-long effort to withhold documents and communications that will explain how the drilling moratorium was made and how the Drilling Moratorium Report was edited in a manner that misrepresented that independent engineers had peer reviewed and supported the drilling moratorium. If the Department has nothing to hide, then it should stop hiding these documents and its decisions from appropriate Congressional oversight. Absent a valid claim of Executive Privilege for these documents, the Department has a duty to fully and promptly comply with the duly authorized and issued subpoena. I am prepared to initiate further action, should the Department continue to refuse to comply.”
Click here to read a full copy of the letter.
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