In response to a request from Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee, the Department of Interior's acting Inspector General, Mary Kendall, announced she is opening an investigation into whether a Department of Interior report recommending an offshore drilling ban was manipulated to appear as if the ban was endorsed by seven experts from the National Academy of Engineers.
The report endorsed a six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, and explicitly stated "the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering." The National Academy of Engineers experts responded to the report by noting that their views had been misprepresented and that a drilling ban "will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation's economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill."
"It is clear now more than ever that the government’s deepwater drilling decisions need to be guided by strong science, not partisan politics. If the Obama Administration purposefully manipulated the views of known experts on deepwater drilling and deceived the public, there should be serious consequences," Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the ranking Republican on the Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. "The current moratorium on deepwater energy exploration is costing Americans their jobs and causing significant economic harm to a region that cannot afford more hardships."