Thursday, November 11, 2010

White House Tampered With Interior Department Document

The Office of Inspector General released a report on its investigation into the possibility of the White House tampering with the Interior Department's decisions pertaining to the Gulf oil spill. Who exactly in the White House is allowing raw political ideology to control the conclusions of the Interior Department as it pertained to the deep water offshore drilling moratorium?

The OIG reviewed the final email exchange regarding the Executive Summary between
DOl and the White House. In the version that DOl sent to the White House, the moratorium was discussed on the first page of the Executive Summary, while the peer review language was on the second page of the Executive Summary, immediately following a summary list of the safety recommendations contained in the body of the 30-Day Report. The version that the White House returned to DOl had revised and re-ordered the language in the Executive Summary, placing the peer review language immediately following the moratorium recommendation. This caused the
distinction between the Secretary's moratorium recommendation - which had not been peer reviewed - and the safety recommendations contained in the 30-Day Report - which had been peer reviewed - to become effectively lost. Although the Executive Summary underwent some additional minor editing, it was ultimately published on May 27,2010, with the peer review language immediately following the moratorium recommendation, resulting in the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer reviewed.

So, in conclusion, the Inspector General determined that the deliberate tampering with the document's recommendations didn't directly violate guidelines. Especially mentioned was the fact the department issued an apology for their action. That is cold comfort for the thousands of jobs lost and dollars lost in income, not to mention the small businesses who had to close their doors along the way.

House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statement on the Department of the Interior (DOI) Inspector General report regarding changes made to DOI’s 30-Day Safety Report that recommended a drilling moratorium. This report comes after Hastings and other Natural Resources Committee Republicans called for an Inspector General investigation.

"This report begs more questions. Who at the White House actually rewrote the Interior Department document? Is that person a scientist with relevant experience or a political appointee? Furthermore, what other Interior Department decisions are being changed or made by unknown White House staff? This moratorium has cost thousands of jobs and caused severe economic impacts throughout the Gulf. We need to get answers as to who and how these policy decisions are being made and ensure that they are actually based on sound science."

Yes, some sound science would be good. This administration arrogantly proclaimed that, unlike previous administrations, this one would be completely relying on 'scientific' results and conclusions in theory. This administration arrogantly proclaimed that they would not use the scientific community for political gain.

When do we get that apology?

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