March 13, 2014
Dear Ms. Kendall:
On December 23, 2013 the Committee on Natural Resources ("Committee") sent a letter to the Office of Inspector General ("OIG") for the Department of the Interior ("Department") requesting a complete and unredacted copy and underlying attachments for an OIG report of investigation into the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement's ("OSM") efforts to rewrite the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone rule. The request also sought drafts of and edits to the OIG report, as well as entries from the OIG's case management system for the report.
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.
Read the entire letter HERE