Hastings Makes Second Request for Unredacted Stream Buffer Zone Rule Report, Urges Interior’s OIG to Uphold Responsibility to Congress
“Allowing the Department to screen the information the OIG provides to Congress is counterproductive and undermines not only the OIG’s role in fostering integrity and accountability within the Department but also its relationship with Congress”

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13, 2014 - Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) sent a letter to Department of the Interior’s Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall once again requesting an unredacted copy of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSM) efforts to rewrite the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule.

The House Committee on Natural Resources initially requested a copy of the unredacted report and related documents and attachments in January. In response, the OIG only provided a heavily redacted copy and only some of the attachments. One of the redacted sections was entitled “Issues with the New Contract.” A letter from Deputy Inspector General Kendall, states the Interior Department had reviewed and decided what would be withheld and redacted from the Committee.

“For over three years, the Committee has had serious concerns about the process being used to rewrite this rule and the impact that a new rule would have on jobs and the economy. In the past five years, the Obama Administration has spent over $9 million in response to litigation with environmental groups challenging the 2008 rule, has fired contractors working on the rule when the potential job loss numbers became publicly known, and has not yet even issued a proposed rule after all these years and millions of dollars spent. The OIG’s December 2013 report confirmed many aspects about the Committee’s own oversight into this wasteful and mismanaged rulemaking process, summarized in a 2012 majority staff report. Allowing the Department to screen the information the OIG provides to Congress is counterproductive and undermines not only the OIG’s role in fostering integrity and accountability within the Department but also its relationship with Congress,wrote Chairman Doc Hastings in the letter.

Click here to read the full letter sent today by Chairman Hastings.

For more information on the Committee’s Oversight of the Obama Administration’s Effort to Rewrite Regulations on Coal Productions click here.


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