U.S. Sen. David Vitter recently announced that the federal Integrity Committee is looking into a potential cover up of documents that led to the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil spill. Meanwhile the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources had the Department of Interior's Inspector General, Mary Kendall, testify before the committee today on the matter.
"The main takeaway I got from the House hearing today is that our investigation into the cover-up of the moratorium is imperative and should move quickly," Vitter said. "The Interior Department's IG appears to have been directly involved with the report that led to the job-crushing moratorium, even though she is supposed to remain completely independent."
Immediately following the Obama administration's moratorium, Vitter asked the Department of Interior's Office of the Inspector General to investigate the oil spill report that led to the moratorium and a possible mistake in reporting the facts. At the time, Interior's IG provided a summary back to Vitter saying any mistakes were inadvertent. New evidence from documents obtained by the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee show there was likely collaboration between DOI officials and their Inspector General.
"The Gulf moratorium crushed thousands of jobs -- many losses of which Louisiana is still suffering from -- so it's encouraging to see the appropriate action taken to start an accurate investigation," Vitter said. "Alarming evidence from a whistleblower shows that the original investigation I requested on the moratorium may not have been independent and could have even involved the acting IG tampering with the facts. We're confident that this independent Integrity Committee will conduct a thorough and accurate investigation and get to the bottom of this potential cover-up. It's pretty outrageous to know that politics seems to be likely influencing the office of the IG in lieu of the science."
Vitter, along with Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) requested this investigation on May 24, 2012. Click here to read a copy of their request for investigation.