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Under Investigation: Inspector General Probes Interior Dept.’s Tampering with Report Recommending Drilling Moratorium
“It is clear now more than ever that our deepwater drilling decisions need to be guided by strong science, not partisan politics.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2010 - In response to a letter from Natural Resources Committee Republicans, Department of Interior (DOI) Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall today confirmed she is conducting an open investigation into allegations that the Department altered the 30-day safety report to the President on Outer Continental Shelf drilling to include recommendation of a deepwater drilling moratorium after it was peer-reviewed by seven experts from the National Academy of Engineers.

Click here to read a copy of the letter from Kendall confirming the investigation.

It has been well documented that the Obama Administration misrepresented the views of the seven engineers, who did not recommend a moratorium on deepwater drilling, in the final 30-Day Safety Report. In response, 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.”

“After thousands of Americans have lost their jobs, a federal judge has slapped back Secretary Salazar’s moratorium as ‘arbitrary’, and the experts themselves have publicly challenged the moratorium document, it’s certainly time for the Administration’s actions to be investigated. It is clear now more than ever that the government’s deepwater drilling decisions need to be guided by strong science, not partisan politics. If the Obama Administration purposefully manipulated the views of known experts on deepwater drilling and deceived the public, there should be serious consequences. The current moratorium on deepwater energy exploration is costing Americans their jobs and causing significant economic harm to a region that cannot afford more hardships,” said Full Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04).

The people of the Gulf Coast are already suffering enough from the devastating economic and environmental effects of the oil spill. Struggling families in the Gulf deserve to know if politics trumped science on the recommendation for a deepwater moratorium. I look forward to the results of this investigation and trust the Acting Inspector General will be fair in her assessment of the situation taking into account the massive job loss and financial impact of the Administration-imposed six-month moratorium,” said Energy and Minerals Subcommittee Ranking Member Doug Lamborn (CO-05).

Thousands of Louisiana families who are losing their livelihoods to the moratorium deserve answers to these questions. There are too many jobs at stake for the Administration to let politics interfere with the facts,” said Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-06).

Click here to read a copy of the letter Republicans sent to DOI Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall this week calling for an investigation.

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

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