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Opinion: House GOP renews energy witch hunt

Instead of focusing on the environmental damage done by fossil fuel extractions, Republicans in Congress are nitpicking about procedural reports related to oil and coal development.

Resources committee to consider issuing subpoenas on mining stream buffers, Gulf drilling moratorium

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —The radical anti-environmental leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee last week announced the latest chapter of their anti-Obama witch hunt, scheduling a March 28 full committee meeting to discuss possible subpoenas related to coal mining stream protections and a moratorium on Gulf of Mexico oil drilling.

At issue are two efforts by the Obama administration to raise environmental standards. To try and protect streams and riparian areas from the ravages of coal mining, the interior department set out to rewrite a stream buffer zone rule.

But in a memo on the meeting, committee chairman Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican, claims the changes circumvent procedures required by environmental laws, and that “thousands of jobs” are at stake.

The second issue is centered on a six-month moratorium on deep water offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, issued after BP’s failed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig polluted thousands of square miles in the Gulf with a runaway oil spill.

Instead of focusing on the damage caused by the spill, Hastings and the Republican committee leadership are focusing on procedural minutiae associated with the moratorium.

Hastings said he thinks the Obama administration “edited” a report on the moratorium to “misrepresent” the views of scientists and technical experts to suggest that they supported the moratorium when they actually didn’t.

The committee has been badgering the administration for months, requesting documents related to the report on the moratorium.

“Both investigations have been ongoing for over one year – and both matters raise serious questions about the actions of the Obama Administration, the resulting significant impact on the economy, and thousands of lost American jobs,” Hastings wrote in a memo on the upcoming hearing.


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One Response

  1. It is crucial that these committees make a thorough investigation of information that is presented to them, especially when it is suspected that the studies in question have given a spin to represent a false conclusion. I have presented information to a congressional committee, and I can guarantee you that they want to see original documents, that they are far more inclined to accept peer-reviewed and professional data, and that they will get to the bottom of ANY testimony.

    It is a serious matter when false or altered testimony is given to a congressional committee, and it does not matter whether committee is composed of one majority or another – they ALL provide this level of scrutiny. Describing the leaders of House Natural Resources as anti-environmental is simply not true. They are doing the job that they are supposed to do, and the fact that a subpoena is necessary to obtain the truth in this case is an entirely appropriate action. It would not be the first time that there was an attempt to sway the opinions of this committee with biased data.

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