Yep, we all know how elusive and stall-worthy the present administration’s agencies and departments are and can be. Especially the EPA, Dept. of Energy, DOJ and the Dept. of the Interior. Except when it’s what they want, and then it’s in a hurry-up-do-it-now mode. And many times without any public input or Congressional approval. Just a flick of their pen.
The latest is the stone-walling of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and his failure over the last 10 months to comply with a Congressional request to testify regarding his comments and wishes to impose new regulations on hydro-fracking on federal land, a technique used to remove natural gas in shale.
Hydro-fracking entails injecting water and chemicals into a hole in the shale in order to break it up and bring the gas to the surface. Many of the progressives and liberals have managed to get moratoriums placed on fracking in many parts of the country to the frustration of natural gas companies and those of us who wish the U.S. to become more energy independent.
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee sent his *first request* via letter to Salazar on December 1, 2010. Highlights of his letter are:
The comments made yesterday by yourself and Presidential Advisor Carol Browner at the Departmental forum on hydraulic fracturing are deeply concerning. The distinct implication is that the Administration has already decided to move forward with a plan to increase permitting requirements on federal land with a policy that would threaten thousands of jobs, deepen the federal deficit through reduced revenues, and harm natural gas development and our nation’s energy security.
Before this dramatic proposed policy change advances further, it is requested that you respectfully allow Congress an opportunity to fully examine the issue, the impact to jobs and communities, and to consult relevant experts, including federal agencies, state regulators, federal land leaseholders, operators and contractors.
Salazar responded on January 10, 2011 in usual government double-speak manner claiming he “looks forward to working with Congress” and will do so in a fashion that addresses “public and Congressional concerns.” Full text of Salazar’s letter is here.
Yesterday Chairman Hastings sent a follow-up letter to Salazar, a *second request* so-to-speak:
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Last week, at an event sponsored by Christian Science Monitor, you announced that the Department of the Interior plans to issue rules regarding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands, within a “month or so” [emphasis mine]. In your comments, you also reiterated your belief in transparency and full disclosure regarding hydraulic fracturing [emphasis mine].
In the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, [emphasis mine] I would like to re-extend my invitation for you to testify on this matter before the House Natural Resources Committee. In a letter sent on December 1, 2010, I requested that prior to the Department of the Interior taking action to unilaterally set forth new regulations regarding energy development on federal lands that you appear before the Committee to provide testimony and answer questions from Committee members. It is our responsibility, as the Committee with jurisdiction on activities on federal lands, to carefully examine this issue and ensure any action proposed by the Department is within the law and takes into consideration the impacts on jobs, communities, revenues, states and our economy.
In your response to my request, you stated that you looked forward to working with Members of Congress on natural gas development and “Should the Department move forward with disclosure requirements…we will do so in a fashion that fully considers public and Congressional concerns.”
In accordance with our previous communications, I look forward to you appearing before the Natural Resources Committee prior to the Department issuing any new regulations or requirements governing hydraulic fracturing on federal lands so that we may work together on this important issue.
Doc Hastings, Chairman
I’m not holding my breath on this one.
With the track record of the Obama administration it seems to be the only word they understand is *subpoena.*
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks
Thanks for keeping up on this, LIO. (Lady P – Ed.)