President Obama said in his State of the Union address:

…to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives.  And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.  It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development.  It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies.

Apparently for the Obama administration tough decisions about offshore drilling means just saying no, and then lying about transparency that will be part of the process.  If he truly cares about energy independence you would think he’d keep this possibility open, but alas action does not match the rhetoric.

The Hill is reporting that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is rebuffing Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s plan to participate in oil and gas lease sales:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is rebuffing Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) recent call to move ahead with oil and gas leasing plans off the state’s coast next year and will instead delay action until at least 2012, according to a news report.

Reuters reports that the move “creates more uncertainty over whether the drilling plan will ever be carried out.”

Vince Haley of Big Government points out the delay and deception that has gone on within the Obama administration when it obtained internal emails from the Obama Administration via American Solutions:

In April of 2009, during a discussion about offshore exploration in San Francisco, Salazar said that President Obama directed him to “to make sure that we have an open and transparent government” and that “these are not decisions that are going to be made behind closed doors.” Salazar went on to say that President Obama wanted to make sure that DOI was “maximizing the opportunity for the public to give us guidance on what it is that they want to do.”

Yet, more than four months after the comment period ended, the Department of the Interior has failed to make any public announcement about the results, even though sources have told American Solutions for months the comments show a 2-1 advantage in support of offshore drilling.

It took American Solutions almost four months and the power of the Freedom of Information Act to finally uncover indirect confirmation that, out of over 530,000 comments submitted, pro-drilling comments outnumbered anti-drilling comments by a 2-1 margin.

In an email dated October 27, 2009, Liz Birnbaum, director of the Minerals Management Service, informs other Interior officials that a preliminary tabulation of the results of the comment period had not yet gone to Secretary Salazar, adding “[s]o the Secretary can honestly say in response to any questions that he’s [SIC] has not yet seen the analysis of the comments – staff is still working on it. I did, however, confirm to him the 2-1 split that these guys [at American Solutions] are emphasizing.”

When a public employee is on record condoning purposeful deception of the American people, the taxpayer should no longer have to fund his or her job.  Secretary Salazar should immediately fire Liz Birnbaum for purposefully deceiving him, and in turn, the American people.  It’s not possible for the Secretary to honor pledges of openness, honestly, and transparency in government if his staff is going to deliberately undermine such pledges.

Public opinion polls already measure near 70% support for offshore drilling, so the results from a public comment period that reflect the same public sentiment should not be surprising.  But after all this talk of wanting the public’s input, Secretary Salazar and his team must find it a real stumbling block to have to explain all their anti-energy development actions in light of the comment period results to which they previously attached such great importance.

We need job creation.  Here is a great opportunity.  But since offshore drilling doesn’t match with his ideology, President Obama will direct the Interior Department to go through the motions but delay and deceive to keep it from happening.

As Sarah Palin points out:

Mr. President, we appreciate you asking for our input. We’ve provided it, so thank you for accepting it. With no time to waste, it’s time to listen to the American people – finally – and drill, baby, drill!

Actually listening to the American people, what a novel concept.

3 comments
  1. Purposefully delaying and deception of public comments because results have not bee released 4 months after the public comment period has ended??? Vince Haley must have absolutely no idea of how long it takes to do a fair and detailed categorical analysis of 530,000 open-ended comments. They probably don’t have an army of people to put on it. To prematurely release the results is not always a good idea. It could result in DOI having to retract previous statements if they find errors in preliminary findings.

    Weak arguement if you ask me.

    1. @Scott, it took American Solutions four months to get that information. The public comment period had ended long before that.

      Go back and reread that. If it had been only four months since it public comments had ended, well I wouldn’t have done this post and would completely side with you.

      1. I don’t think so. Public comment period ended on September 21, 2009. October, November, December, January – yep – four months give or take a few days. If it took American Solutions four months to obtain the data, they would have had to start the minute the comment period closed.

        See the press release: http://www.mms.gov/ooc/press/2009/press0925.htm

        I stand by my original comment.

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