August 15, 2011
Dear Mr. Secretary:
The Committee is in receipt of the August 1, 2011 letter from the Department of the Interior's (DOI) Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs relating to the status of several formal document and information requests the Committee has made to DOI and its bureaus during the 112th Congress. Although the August 1st letter discusses the requests collectively, because the issues regarding DOI's compliance in each matter vary, for the purpose of clarity, the Committee will address each in separate correspondences. In this letter, the Committee will specifically speak to DOI's responses to date and assertions contained in the August 1st concerning DOI's Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement's (OSM) rewrite of the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule (Rule). The Committee has made requests for information and documents by letters dated February 8, 2011; February 10, 2011; April I, 2011; and July 18, 2011.
The Committee appreciates DOI's recognition of this Committee's legitimate and important oversight responsibilities and pledge to work with the Committee to provide materials responsive to the Committee's needs as stated in DOI's August 1st letter. The Committee is also aware of DOI's concerns about Executive Branch confidentiality interests. The Committee has repeatedly, in writing and through conversations between Committee and DOI staff, provided detailed instructions on how DOI can explain that it will not fully comply with a request or how DOI can assert a claim of privilege when withholding a document.
Read the entire letter HERE.