Top scientists’ claims that their opinions were misrepresented to justify a government imposed six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling has led to a federal investigation of the moratorium itself. The U.S. Interior Department’s inspector general is conducting a probe into how the Obama administration came up with its recommendation for the moratorium, which is crippling the economies of south Louisiana and could soon damage the national economy as well.

Confirmation of the probe came Thursday after House Republicans who sought the investigation released a letter from Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall. The congressmen made the request after seven members of the science panel that reviewed safety concerns related to the moratorium objected to their names being used in support of the moratorium when they actually opposed it, saying it goes too far. The Interior Department’s May 27 report, the basis for the moratorium, claimed its recommendations had been “peer-reviewed” by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering. Those experts later came forward to say that was not the case.

A U.S. district court judge struck down the moratorium, but it has effectively shut down deepwater drilling during the appeals process.

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, who is among those who sought the review, called the news of the investigation bittersweet, according to Friday’s Advocate:
“It’s just bad that we’re losing these jobs,” said Cassidy, who has introduced a bill to repeal the moratorium. “To the degree that we can prevent science from being corrupted to support bad political decisions then we’ve accomplished something.”
Read The Advocate story here.

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