Basically, what happened was that Salazar added language to a report on the Gulf oil spill, and that said language called for a drilling moratorium. That’s not the lie: the Interior Secretary is allowed to make his own recommendations, even when they’re dunderheaded recommendations. No, this is the lie:
Salazar’s report to Obama said a panel of seven experts “peer reviewed” his recommendations, which included a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an immediate halt to drilling operations.
“None of us actually reviewed the memorandum as it is in the report,” oil expert Ken Arnold told Fox News. “What was in the report at the time it was reviewed was quite a bit different in its impact to what there is now. So we wanted to distance ourselves from that recommendation.”
The recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.
…and ‘recommendations’ very much includes everything in that report that’s explicitly said as coming from the Secretary; and the experts (all petroleum engineers) are explicitly disavowing that. Not to be impolite about this, but Salazar is a politician, not an engineer, which is why this is a big deal: a moratorium on drilling is clearly a political decision, not a technical one – and while taking political considerations into account when making a technical decision can be acceptable, masking a political decision as a technical decision is not. Salazar probably thought that this would be not noticed; and probably twenty years ago it wouldn’t have been, at least to the extent that it has so far. Then again, twenty years ago we didn’t have PDFs, and barely had an Internet.
Normally, I’d call for Ken Salazar’s metaphorical head at this point, but judging from this report: even if they decided to listen to me the White House would probably just mess up and fire Larry Echo Hawk instead. These people would do better if they just started relying on a Magic 8-Ball.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.