Rep. Hastings Subpoenas Interior's Oil Spill Documents

Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 03:44 PM

By Dan Weil

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House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., subpoenaed the Interior Department Tuesday for documents related to the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, The Hill reports.

The documents at issue are from a  2010 report that inaccurately intimated that outside engineers supported a deepwater drilling ban following the  spill. The subpoena has a deadline of April 10 for Interior to get the documents to the panel, The Hill reports.

“President Obama pledged unprecedented transparency, and it’s regrettable that a congressional subpoena is necessary to obtain documents pertaining to the administration’s report that recommended a six-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico,” Hastings said in a statement Tuesday.

The Interior Department’s inspector general wrote in the 2010 report that Interior officials interviewed for the report said they never intended to indicate that the outside analysts favored a drilling ban. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar later apologized to the engineers for the department giving the impression that they indeed supported a drilling freeze.

Republicans and some conservative Democrats said the freeze represented an excessive response to the BP oil spill that began in April 2010. The ban created unnecessary economic hardship in the Gulf region, they said. The freeze ended in October 2010, but permitting didn’t start up again until February 2011.


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