A draft report of the Department of Interior Inspector General has confirmed what many suspected: High-level White House officials edited an Interior Department report to create the false impression that Interior Secretary’s Ken Salazar’s decision to impose a deep-water drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico had been peer reviewed and approved by outside experts. It had not been. The NYT‘s Green Blog reports:
Mary L. Kendall, the Interior Department inspector general, interviewed all the officials involved in preparing and editing the report and reviewed the e-mails between Interior and the White House in the final hours before the report was issued. She found that officials in the office of Carol Browner, the White House coordinator for energy and environment, had changed some wording and moved around some of the report’s findings in a way that made it look as though the independent scientists had endorsed the moratorium recommendation. Officials from the White House and Interior told Ms. Kendall that they had not intended to do so.
The original report said that the recommendations in the report had been reviewed by the panel of seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering. That statement was moved in the final report to come directly after the announcement of the six-month drilling ban, rather than after the safety recommendations. Ms. Kendall said that the placement of the sentence “implied that the experts had also peer reviewed and supported this policy decision.”
[Note: Post edited in response to a comment below.]