Chairman Hastings Continues to Seek Answers on the National Blueways Program and Chu Memo


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2013 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today sent letters to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz regarding unfulfilled oversight requests from the House Natural Resources Committee on the National Blueways program and former Secretary Chu’s Memorandum to the Power Market Administrations. In addition to reiterating requests for answers and documents, the letters seeks information about what steps, if any, were taken to ensure that documents of senior officials who have since resigned were preserved and searched in response to the Committee’s oversight requests.

Click here for the letter to Secretary of the Interior Jewell.

Click here for the letter to Secretary of Energy Moniz.

“After multiple Committee hearings, numerous letters of concern, it is clear there are still more questions than answers regarding these Obama Administration programs and directives,” said Chairman Hastings. “The growing concerns and opposition from the public make the Administration’s lack of transparency on these issues all the more troubling. These policies could have significant job and economic impacts and the Administration must start being forthright about how they intend to implement them going forward.”

National Blueways Program

The National Blueways Secretarial Order was signed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2012 and creates unilateral authority for the Secretary to designate entire watersheds as “National Blueways.”

Since February, the House Natural Resources has been conducting oversight into the National Blueways Program. In a letter sent on June 28th, Chairman Hastings asked for explanations about the designation process, the makeup of the National Blueways Committee, the potential for federal land acquisition and regulations under the Order, and the involvement of Department of the Interior Department’s Senior Advisor Rebecca Wodder. A follow-up letter was sent on July 29th. To date, the Department has failed to provide any documents responsive to this request. In a hearing before the Committee on July 17, 2013, it was announced that the Department had placed the Blueways program on hold. It remains unclear whether this is a permanent end to a legally suspect program, or a temporary pause.

Chu Memo on Power Market Administrations

On March 16, 2012 Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued a memo to the Power Marketing Administrations that included directives that could significantly alter their primary missions of providing clean, affordable electricity to ratepayers and raise electricity costs on 40 million Americans. Since last Congress, multiple letters and oversight hearings have been held on the impacts of these directives. On February 28th, Chairman Hastings sent a letter repeating his requests for documents in order to shed light on the decision-making process that resulted in that memorandum and the subsequent final recommendations. To date, the Committee’s requests remain almost wholly unfulfilled.

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