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Republicans Call on Interior Dept. Inspector General to Investigate Changes Made to DOI Report Recommending Drilling Moratorium
“Clearly, the decision to establish a six-month moratorium was not based on sound science”

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2010 - Today, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04), Energy and Minerals Subcommittee Ranking Member Doug Lamborn (CO-05), and Reps. John Duncan (TN-02), Bill Cassidy (LA-06), Paul Broun (GA-10), Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) and John Fleming (LA-04) sent a letter to Department of the Interior (DOI) Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall requesting an investigation into the politically motivated alterations to DOI’s 30-Day Safety Report following the Deepwater Horizon incident. Click here to read the full text of the letter.

It has been well documented that the 30-Day Safety Report was altered to include a deepwater moratorium after seven experts from the National Academy of Engineering peer-reviewed and signed off on the document. In response to the Administration’s misrepresentation of their views, the scientists made it clear that a deepwater moratorium “will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation's economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill.”

There are important questions about this incident that must be answered,” wrote the Members in the letter. “Who in the Administration ignored the recommendation of scientists and made these changes? Were any laws broken? Who made the decision to misrepresent the views of the scientists? Were the changes influenced by the White House? Were the changes recommended by outside groups?

“…The decision to alter the report after the peer-review process severely undermines any trust the American people have in the Department of the Interior and the federal government. In one of his early speeches, Secretary Salazar said, ‘I pledge to you that we will ensure the Interior Department’s decisions are based on sound science and the public interest, and not on the special interests.’ Clearly, the decision to establish a six-month moratorium was not based on sound science. The outside experts who cosigned the report have raised serious concerns that the imposition of the moratorium would exacerbate any safety issues associated with deepwater drilling.”

The Obama Administration’s moratorium is causing a second economic crisis in the Gulf. Thousands of jobs have already been lost and thousands of additional jobs are at risk of being sent overseas. Just last week, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. announced that they would move a second drilling rig from the Gulf of Mexico to the Congo, following an earlier announcement that a Diamond rig would be moved to Egypt. The President of Diamond Offshore noted, “As the uncertainty about continued deepwater drilling in the [gulf] persists, we must consider alternatives that allow our deepwater assets to remain employed.” (Oil & Gas Journal 7/13/10)

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Contact: Jill Strait or Spencer Pederson (202) 226-2311

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