January 16, 2014
The House Natural Resources Committee today voted 26-14 to approve a motion
to authorize the Chairman to issue subpoenas for the production of documents and to compel individuals to appear before the Committee on four specific matters within the Committee’s jurisdiction. They include:
1.Implementation of the Secure Rural Schools program as authorized by the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000;
2.The Department of the Interior’s decision and the process to rewrite the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977;
3. Implementation and enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act; and
4. Apparent conflicts of interest by current and former Department of the Interior employees in connection with their responsibilities for administration of public lands generally.
The Committee’s actions today are in response to the Obama Administration’s failure to fully cooperate with Committee investigations on these matters and provide full, transparent answers. Requests for information have gone unanswered or been delayed for months, documents are being withheld in their entirety or heavily redacted, and the Administration has refused to make witnesses available for questioning.
“If the Administration will decide to fully cooperate, then I would be happy to never issue subpoenas. I remain hopeful that they will do so,” said Chairman Doc Hastings. “Subpoenas are not the preferred option, and I don’t want to be forced to have to compel testimony and information from the Administration. But if this is the path the Administration chooses to take, if they refuse to be transparent about their actions and decisions, then we will be left with no other choice. Foot dragging and delay tactics simply consume unnecessary time and resources. The goal is full, transparent answers – then matters can be concluded. The sooner full responses are produced, the sooner this can end.”
Click here to read Chairman Hastings’ full opening statement.
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