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Wall Street Journal: Salazar Stuns Oil Spill Hearing


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 13, 2010 - Note: “The really odd moment came when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement that he was looking to the commission for information that could inform the administration’s position on halting deepwater drilling.

Salazar’s statement stunned the commission’s two co-chairmen, William K. Reilly and Bob Graham, who said they had been assured by Salazar’s office and the White House that giving advice on the moratorium wasn’t their job.”


Salazar Stuns Oil Spill Hearing
7/12/10
Wall Street Journal
Stephen Power

There were some unusual moments during the first hearing of the presidential commission on the BP-Deepwater Horizon accident. And no, we’re not talking about the speakers who showed up claiming to represent the Communist Party. Or the witness who pulled out a guitar and crooned a song about the accident.

No, the really odd moment came when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement that he was looking to the commission for information that could inform the administration’s position on halting deepwater drilling.

Salazar’s statement stunned the commission’s two co-chairmen, William K. Reilly and Bob Graham, who said they had been assured by Salazar’s office and the White House that giving advice on the moratorium wasn’t their job.

“We’re 10 minutes old,” Reilly told an audience in New Orleans, where the commission held its first hearing. “The idea we’d have a near-term responsibility to make recommendations on policy was not our understanding [of the panel’s mission] and is not consistent with my most recent conversation with [Interior Deputy Secretary] David Hayes, who said the Interior Department didn’t look to this commission for advice” on the matter.

Graham, speaking to reporters after the hearing, said he too was “confused” by Salazar’s statement. He said he and Reilly plan to go back to the Interior Department “to try to clarify what is our responsibility and how we’re going to carry it out.”

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