I’ve been covering Loathsome Cowboy/job-killer Ken Salazar’s ongoing corruption of science and environmental policy at the Interior Department for you extensively here. He has largely escaped mainstream scrutiny. But with a new House GOP majority and independent watch dogs on his tail, he may finally get the lasting ass-kicking he deserves.
As you’ll recall, Salazar and his minions were roasted by federal courts in June and July for fudging data and misrepresenting and contradicting what Obama-appointed scientists recommended regarding the administration’s deepwater drilling ban. In September, the courts again rejected the drilling ban before the White House finally relented in an election-season feint.
He refused to acknowledge his deception and instead strolled into a federal oil spill commish meeting and did this:
Undaunted, Salazar conjured up a “revised” moratorium rubber-stamped by oil spill czar Michael Bromwich, who sheepishly admitted that the new ban was “roughly congruent with the original moratorium.”
The sham changes would permit some drilling rigs to re-start operations – but only under onerous, fantasyland testing conditions that industry leaders say would be virtually impossible to meet. In short, Salazar’s “new” moratorium is a lot like Salazar himself: All hat, no cattle.
The Interior Secretary then strode into the first hearing of the presidential oil spill commission this week to tell the panelists that he wanted their work to “inform” his book-cooked deepwater drilling ban. It was, essentially, Salazar guiding the dog-and-pony show participants to bark and neigh on command. The panelists were “stunned” by Salazar’s explicit expectation of policy support, according to hearing observers, because weighing in on the moratorium had not been a part of their original mandate.
None of the panelists, conveniently enough, has actual technical expertise in deepwater drilling. So on what, exactly, can they “inform” Salazar? No doubt Salazar and his superiors at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have soaked up the online anti-drilling rants of prominent oil spill panelist Frances Beinecke. She’s a leading official at the rabidly anti-corporate Natural Resources Defense Council, where she publicly called for offshore drilling bans five times over the past two months before snagging a seat on Obama’s “expert” panel. NRDC was one of the leading environmental lobbying voices pushing for the commission in the first placde. The eco-tail is wagging Team Obama’s dog.
Now, the Interior Department inspector general has officially confirmed what whistle-blowing scientists exposed this summer. Salazar and the Obama eco-radicals doctored their moratorium report to mislead the public. Whose fingerprints were all over the lies?
Carol Browner, again.
The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.
In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO…
…Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said the changes were part of the normal editing and consulting process.
“There was no intent to mislead the public,” Barkoff said in a statement to POLITICO. “The decision to impose a temporary moratorium on deepwater drilling was made by the secretary, following consultation with colleagues including the White House.”
Longtime readers of this blog know about Browner’s sordid history of doctoring evidence, evading transparency, and abusing public office in pursuit of her radical environmental agenda. I wrote in December 2008:
If fiscal conservatives, sound science advocates, and businesses don’t raise a stink about Browner’s crooked background, they deserve everything that’s coming to them.
Unfortunately, American workers whose jobs have been destroyed by these green power-grabbers didn’t deserve the punishment they’ve suffered.
Let’s hope the House GOP majority turns up the heat and holds Salazar/Browner responsible.
The White House claimed some vindication, saying that the IG had stopped short of accusing the administration of a deliberate deception, and called it “a misunderstanding.” That seems like a bit of a stretch, especially since the supposed mistake didn’t exactly occur in a vacuum. Opponents of oil drilling, usually among Obama’s allies on the Left, had demanded an end to drilling in the region at least until the investigation into the disaster was completed. The White House version of the report gave Obama political cover to order the six-month moratorium — at least until those involved in its peer review cried foul after the White House publicly used them to defend the action.
But even if it was just a “misunderstanding,” an artifact of some guileless editorial tweaking that inadvertently put a paragraph ahead of or behind an important qualifier, it was at the very least incompetence. Why was the staff of energy “adviser” Carol Browner allowed to edit a report issued by the Department of Interior’s blue-ribbon panel in the first place? Why did no one review those changes at Interior to determine whether the edits were justified, especially since the IG report indicates that the edits took place because the staffer or Browner didn’t think it summarized the findings properly? Why not just ask the report’s authors to rewrite it themselves?