A House committee issued a subpoena on Wednesday, demanding documents related to the administration’s Gulf Coast drilling permatorium. Republicans on the panel say the administration’s refusal to turn over documents made the action necessary.
At issue is a controversial report issued by the Interior Department to justify its 2010 ban on new drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. Interior, at which the subpoena is directed, edited language in a report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to give the impression that a team of engineers had approved of the permatorium, when they had not.
In fact, those engineers found that the permatorium “will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill.”
The Washington Times reports:
The report accompanying the moratorium appeared to imply that a panel of engineers the administration consulted had agreed with the drilling ban — though the engineers later said they opposed the moratorium and had concluded that drilling generally was safe enough to continue.
“The report falsely stated the professional views of independent engineers and the moratorium directly caused thousands of lost jobs, economic pain throughout the Gulf region and a decline in American energy production. It’s important to clearly understand exactly how this happened,” said Rep. Doc Hastings, Washington Republican, who is Natural Resources Committee chairman.
Adam Fetcher, a spokesman for the Interior Department, said they have made efforts to comply with the committee but said some of the requests would impinge on the executive branch’s ability to deliberate and make decisions.
The Heritage Foundation has extensively documented the damage done to Gulf-area businesses by the administration’s hostility to oil exploration there. Here is a video we produced to document some of the personal consequences of the policy: