September 28, 2011
Dear Mr. Secretary:
As you know, the Committee is conducting an investigation into 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 infonnation and documents by letters dated February 8, 2011; February 10, 2011; April 1, 2011; July 18,2011; and August 15,2011.
On August 19,2011, Committee staff met with DOI staff regarding another ongoing investigation being undertaken by the Committee. During this meeting, DOI staff represented that documents relating to concerns, discussions, comments or questions regarding the quality of Polu Kai's work performed in connection with the revision of the Rule would be provided to the Committee the following week. This information had been requested by the Committee in its April 1 st letter. DOI staff also informed Committee staff that because of perceived privilege concerns, DOI would be inviting Committee staff to come to DOI to review documents responsive to the Committee's other requests relating to the rewrite of the Rule. Additionally, DOI staff informed Committee staff that DOI was making a distinction between information relating to the RIA and the EIS because the RIA was not yet public and the EIS had been made public. Because of this distinction, DOI viewed the RIA and the scope of the Rule as part of ongoing rule making and related information and documents did not have to be provided to the Committee. Consequently, DOI would not be providing any information and documents responsive to Request 2 as set-forth in the Committee's April 1st letter. At this time, the Committee reserves comment on DOI's position.
Read the entire letter HERE.