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A subpoena was issued Tuesday for documents the administration so far has refused to share; but experts say they did not recommend a moratorium.


House committee says Obama administration may have edited 2010 report to favor Gulf oil drilling moratorium

A subpoena was issued Tuesday for documents the administration so far has refused to share; but experts say they did not recommend a moratorium.

The Obama administration was subpoenaed Tuesday for documents that congressional investigators hope would shed light on how a government report was edited to indicate experts endorsed a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf following the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

Interior Department officials have refused to comply with repeated requests from the House Resources Committee to provide documents that lawmakers say would show if political appointees at the agency or White House were involved in the editing decision and whether it was intentional.

“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,” said Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), committee chairman.

“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,” Hastings said.

The May 27, 2010 report from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was published at Obama’s request just weeks after the disaster to examine safety measures in place for energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf, and included the recommendation for an immediate moratorium that was quickly imposed.

The department claimed to have based its decision on expertise from “within the federal government, academia, professional engineers, industry, and other governments’ regulatory programs.”

The report also said seven members of the National Academy of Engineering had peer reviewed the recommendations and it appeared as if they supported the drilling moratorium.

However, those experts quickly came forward and said they actually opposed the temporary ban.

“We broadly agree with the detailed recommendations in the report and compliment the Department of Interior for its efforts,” the engineers said in a letter to lawmakers. “However, we do not agree with the six-month blanket moratorium on floating drilling. A moratorium was added after the final review and was never agreed to by the contributors.”

Lawmakers have been investigating the origins of the report for a year. Administration officials have one week to deliver the documents to Capitol Hill.

Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events??? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey???s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co

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