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tv   Coal Production Regulation  CSPAN  January 12, 2014 2:18pm-4:09pm EST

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limited and charter money could only follow kids to a charter school. whether it was a faith-based school or public charter schools, and terms of policy and principle, i have seen it work in new orleans and i saw it when i was at the school, i saw state representatives there grading progress because these schools as you know, the diocese agrees to accept the scholarship amount of full tuition and they are then held to account by the program. i think it can work. there are politics in a way because i know there was much opposition to those who want to -- isure is a full choice
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am for school choice. toward anklegether -- toward incremental progress and we can get to where we want to go. gentleman on the outside? this is the last wetjen, so make it a good one. >> i'm with the magnet schools of america. i want to get your impression about magnet schools. it's the largest in public school choice. do you think embracing a magnet approach could be a good way to bridge the divide between the two parties considering magnet schools generally respect the right of teachers to unionize? under the purview of a school district as far as administration, they are the largest part of public school choice and give parents the right to choose and they encourage competition. increasing funding
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to magnet schools through federal programs and embracing that approach may be a good way to move forward? have in theience i greater richmond area is that we have terrific magnet schools. there is a school that is very -- for publicth school students to apply to and be accepted. certainly it works. that, butporter of there is not a one-size-fits- all. about sharing success stories and that is where chairman klein was about in the student success act. he was building on successes. let's revive incentives for that. i don't think there's going to be a one-size-fits-all. that is what is broken right now. the fact that so many kids are being left out of equality education -- there have been so
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many that go to a magnet school. there are so many that can access a good public charter school. we need to provide a platform for education choice and provide incentives for what works. for beingou very much with us today and you're interesting, provocative and encouraging remarks. [applause]
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>> taking a look at capitol hill, house is in at noon eastern time and votes after 6:30. some of the key legislation they're working on includes a short-term bill to keep the government-funded past wednesday and a spending bill with government funding through 2014 likely to be debated on thursday . the senate is in at 2:00 to extend unemployment benefits that expired in december, including an amendment that would extend them for one year. at 5:00, debate on the nomination of robert wilkins to be a search it -- a circuit judge and a vote on his confirmation at 5:30. hilln spoke with a capitol reporter on the details for the week ahead. >> as congress wraps up its full weekend get set for another full week of legislative action, the headline on national journal putting the senate back in irons.
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the correspondent for national journal joins us by phone. where do things said -- worded things stand in the senate question were >> on monday, the senate comes back at 2:00 and we are expect inc. a bill from jack reed. last week is we saw a deal coming together to pay for and implement extensions for one year, which is something republicans said they wanted to see, but late last evening, we saw it fall to pieces because harry reid was not allowing them to have amendments. >> they have the six senators who are in favor of moving forward but now they are asking for more debate on amendments? does six senators had
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said after they voted to advance the bill was that they did it on the understanding they would get a vote on two of their amendments. sayinge night them both, some of them were not germane that with theut affordable care act. supportd they would not advancing the unemployment extension bill without further amendments. on monday a vote that would pay for it for a year and pay through it -- pay for it through the sequestration cuts as well as a provision that would prevent so-called double dipping into an insurance benefits and disability benefits but republicans are balking at that, saying they have 23 amendments they want to offer
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and read is not allowing them a vote on those. negotiations have been continuing on the 2014 federal deadlineth the looming. it looks like the house will take up a short-term continuing resolution. to top appropriators in the , and an kentucky democrat from maryland in the senate will report that progress is ongoing and they are in town working on the so-called omnibus measure and they expect to have something by the end of next week. the short-term cr goes through saturday, so we expect to see an omnibus presented in time to vote and get out of town for the weekend. but the only other item in the house we know of is one of these
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the, the house working on first of what's expected to be a number more in the house. what does that will look like? >> this hill will require the administration to report to users interaction with, the rollout was very dumpy and this is an attempt by republican lawmakers to shine what they call a light of transparency on the bill and they want the administration to appoint -- to report back to them how the website is very. >> you can follow this reporting and on twitter. thank you for joining us. >> next, we will look at rulemaking for coal mining operations. members of the house natural
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resources committee looked at the obama administration's rulemaking process. this hearing is just under two hours. >> the committee on national resources is he meeting to hear on the obama administration's war on coal, the recent reporting from the office of inspector general. the statements are related to the chairman and ranking number of the committee but i ask unanimous consent that anyone that wishes to have a statement in the record report to the committee. before i recognize myself or my opening statement, i want to welcome the newest member to the burnedee -- mr. radley
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it was just sworn in yesterday. that is an issue we spend a great deal of time on the gulf with fishing and natural gas issues. he has experience in the legislature in the past. we look forward to your input on the issues we will take up. to recognize myself for five minutes for an opening statement. we are here today to discuss the department of interior office new report on the office of the rewrite of the 2008 stream buffer zone rule. i now everyone on this committee is familiar with this rewrite and it has been the subject of committee oversight and investigation for well over two years will stop in short, the it ministration has been millions of dollars working on a new regulation that would put house and the americans out of work and will increase electricity costs.
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it is one of the most covert but destructive tactics and president obama's war on coal. within days of taking office, the obama administration discarded a rule that underwent five years of all a comment to enter into a secret agreement with environmental groups to rewrite the rule in an unachievable timeframe and spent millions of taxpayer dollars and hired contractors to work on the rewrite and then fired contractors when it was revise that it would cost 7000 jobs and attempted to manipulate data to conceal the full economic impact. in september 2012, the committee released a report based on our investigation that included internal documents and audio recordings obtained by the committee. it exposed gross mismanagement of the rulemaking process, -- andal political
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nearly a year and a half later, the aig has released -- the ig has released their report. according to the report, osm employees involved in the project ask contractors to change a variable and the calculations. thisurther out with a new would lower the potential job numbers.ob watch it says the contractors and career employees think this would produce a less accurate number. it is clear based on the report and our findings that the obama administration wanted to hide the real job loss numbers will stop it was only after the job loss numbers were revealed the associated press that osm asked contractors to change the baseline number. the decision to change the baseline numbers appear to be politically motivated. it appears the obama administration cared more about avoiding bad pr than presenting
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accurate job numbers. testimony to this committee, the 7000 job figure was as he said, a placeholder and in fact, the numbers that went into the figure were, and i quote from the report thomas not fabricated. the directly contradicts testimony of the director. this report is further evidence of grossly mismanaged rulemaking processes that has gone on for five years and has cost over $9 million of taxpayer dollars. with absolutely nothing to show for it. i must also again express my --cern that the deputy it deputy inspector general is withholding information from congress when the ig is charged with being an independent watchdog for congress. provide refusing to congress with an unredacted copy of this report taste on instructions by the department
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of interior. for example, large art of a section of the report entitled issues with the new contract have been blacked out. i have been vocal about the mismanagement of the office under the leadership of ms. kendall. we need a permanent ig. the reductions are also another example of lack of transparency that we continue to see from this administration. osm has refused to say where they are in the rulemaking process or even when a draft rule on this would be released. now the department is preventing us from looking. this is why this committee has passed legislation to save taxpayer dollars and american jobs by stopping this administration from continuing its reckless and on necessary rulemaking process. this is needed now more than
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ever so that we can finally put an end to this wasteful and instructive rewrite. day, this of the issue is about protecting the jobs of thousands of americans and ensuring families have access to affordable electricity. stop thetand up and obama administration's attack on american jobs and american-made energy. with that, i will recognize the distinguished ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i guess i'm going to say that i feel -- we are the committee of and there areces, some very real natural resource issues involved in this investigation. unfortunately, we are focused on what appears to be the hiring of and am competent contractor,
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tremendous confusion about what the baseline should be on a rule that hasn't been implemented and what that impact would have on the unknown rule and unpublished and unseen being developed by the obama administration to revise the 2008 rule with regards to the ronald reagan rule. i have asked staff and they cannot figure out -- i can't figure out how using the 2008 rule which has been mitigated rule,osening the reagan how using that as a baseline would show the job losses would be mitigated. it seems to me it would show higher job losses because of you regulate less and destroy the environment more, and produce things more cheaply, you probably can make a case that
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more people would be employed if we went back to the reagan era rule which had more restrictions to protect water quality, that would seem to me if you use that as a baseline, you have a different result. i don't know what we are trying -- i know you have the patented war on coal -- if we were investigating the hindenburg disaster, it would be the obama administration's war on blimps and against hydrogen. get to the real issue here, which is if you blow the top off of the mountain and bulldoze it over into a valley which has a creek or river in the bottom and bury the creek but water still flows and all the leaching comes out with all of these natural hazardous materials that have been exposed
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by and unearthed by the explosions and bulldozing and it goes downstream with horribly they're ourer, health impacts and environmental impacts. i would like to hold a hearing on that issue and why the obama administration has been able to .ome up with an adequate rule maybe we should just go back to the ronald reagan rule. maybe that would be at her. seems to me that is where this committee should be focusing it energy. after the gulf horizon next rosengren -- after the gulf horizon explosion. the change in one paragraph in the meaning of one word which didn't have an impact because they change from a date certain to something that would allow you to go back to leasing were quickly. i read the dictionary and said i don't even know why we are here. why are we here on this? there
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was, i believe incompetence in the contractor. i believe whoever was responsible for hiring and incompetent contractor should be disciplined or removed or whatever. we should be looking at the processes used to do that. i would like to know why there newot a and what might the rule and compass and what forections might it provide the population downstream in that state. but none of that is before us today. we are going to go endlessly thrashing around between what's the 2003 rule in 2008 rule and the proposed rule we haven't seen and what the potential job in packs might be because there was one story that was written that purports to have calculated some job losses. that is why we are here and i've got to say i think it's a waste of the taxpayers money and not the proper focus of this committee.
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lex i thank the gentleman for his statement. we solve the blimp problem earlier this year when we passed helium legislation on a bipartisan basis. i just want to make that point, there is progress here. i want to welcome our witness today. we have mr. robert knox, the forstant inspector general the office of inspector general within the u.s. department of interior. thank you very much for being here. how that timing light works. your full statement will be included in the record. could keep your remarks within the five minutes -- the way that works is you are doing very well and when it comes on, you have a minute to go. you the red light comes on, are supposed to stop, but you can finish your topic and keep that oral remarks in your timeframe.
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>> good morning. chairman hastings, ranking member difazio and ranking members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about the office of inspector general investigation into allegations the office of surface mining pressured contractors working on an environmental impact statement ,nd regulatory impact analysis to lower the potential job losses associated with this proposed rule to locate streams near coal mines and that osm improperly ended the contractors -- the contract when the contractors refused. it was leaked to the media before these allegations surfaced, showing some 7000 jobs implemented. if if adopted, the proposed rule would place more requirements on coal mining companies to protect
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streams near mine sites. contactedsm environmental firms to work on the eis and ira which examined the benefits of the proposed rule as well as socioeconomic effects, including cost to the coal mining industry and potential job losses. in developing an riaa, an agency must establish a baseline or reference for determining the associated costs. contractors need to look at the data as well as determine the rules and regulations being in force at the time. in this case, there are were two versions of a regulation, the buffer zone rule that affected the baseline. one, gated in 1983 and one, gated in 2008. the 2008 rule was intended to replace that rule but it was challenged in court and osm never directed the states to
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adhere to it. found osm initially directed contractors to use the 1983 rule to estimate cold -- coal production losses. after contractors estimated there would be high costs to the industry and significant job losses, osm told contractors that the rules should be applied making the calculation. the employees said they understood this would lower the potential job loss numbers. the office of management and budget, which examines these economic reviews, originally approved the application of the 1983 rule out a subsequently told us either using the 1983 or 2000 date rules was acceptable. clearly, however, the direction given to the contractor was not specific and in fact, there was even disagreement about which rule to apply in the base lot -- in the baseline analysis. tole we found osm only began
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seriously consider terminating the contract after the job loss numbers relate, interviews and internal communications revealed the dissatisfaction with the contractors work product and overall performance was long- standing. than terminate the contract, osm simply chose not to renew it. while little is not within the scope of our investigation, we did examined assertions that the data was made up in the process was flawed. they were merely placeholders and fabricated. said hisntractors knowledge of mining regions and what affects the proposal would have. career employees, however, questioned certain aspects of the contractors methods and the contractors themselves acknowledge that the rushed schedule restricted them from performing a full analysis that they would have preferred.
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investigation our revealed a poorly managed process that resulted in over $3.7 million in contract cost over a year of effort, and no final eis or riaa. the department has advised us that it has taken action to develop another eis to include retaining a more technically capable contractor, forming a more robust logic oversight team and ensuring closer involvement of senior leadership. .his concludes my testimony i'd be happy to answer any questions. much for yourery testimony. i will recognize myself. i have a few questions i want to ask you and then we will allow members to have their questions. say and remind everyone again here on the committee that in the last congress, the deputy inspector general ailed to comply with the
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congressional appeal for documents because the department told her not to provide us with those documents. seeing is déjàe vu all over again in this regard. the committee requested a complete and unredacted copy of the ig's report along with the attachments, interview notes, transcripts and e-mails referenced in the report. it has provided only a redacted copy and none of the e- mails. is that correct? is that wastanding your request. >> the department has instructed your office not to provide a complete report because it relates to the ongoing rulemaking effort. is that correct? >> mr. chairman, i would say that is not correct. toy have not instructed us
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refrain from releasing anything to this committee. they have asserted a privilege related to the ongoing will making on this rule and their assertion is pre-decisional and therefore privileged. only information redacted by our office pertains to the ongoing rulemaking. religion,u talk about had executiveent privilege on this case question mark >> not to my knowledge. lex let me tell you the problem i have with that. in 2008 rule is promulgated august of 2008 and in early spring, the new administration came in and essentially negated that rule which was hardly in effect. is why diduestion
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you negate the rule, which they never told us why, so there is a direct connection as we go through and they are stumbling through this whole process where if they are having problems with in the contractors, and redacted report which we should put up, by the way, let's put up the redacted report, which is under the title of where is that? issues with the new contract, that is redacted. with drafting a new rule with the contractors, and a fire the contractors and now they have new contractors and your report is issued to us that you are having problems with that, shouldn't we know that?
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problems with the new contractors? >> the oig is not asserting a privilege in this, and i understand our general counsel did consult with staff from the committee and discuss this matter in advance of this hearing. i know you couldn't tell me what the problems are and that was probably more of a rhetorical question, but my problem is this whole process is involving problems with the contractor, the initial contractor, and they fire him. now they have problems with the new contractor and redacting that information on a rule that was never put in place. it had not even had an opportunity to be fully implemented. is information the
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american people should have. i will simply say i have a real the acting ig because she is the one who apparently made that decision don'twill just say i think this issue is going to go away in the future and with that, i will recognize the .anking member >> i'm going to pass at this point. somebodyve to pick >> i will be back. i have to do an interview. discussion, i will recognize mr. holt for his questions. not speaking on behalf of
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mrs. shea porter or mr. difazio mr. knox forhank coming to testify today. let me start with a few questions in a series. investigation into a regulatory assault on the economy? anything on the war on jobs or evidence of a war on coal? these may sound like odd questions, but i am asking them because these are the titles of various investigative hearings this committee has held over years now looking into this matter on the screen protection rules. this was all about a war on the economy, all about a war on coal, all about were on jobs will stop interviewing the you, in youre ask
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report, it seems evident that the management of this contractor by the osm certainly could have been better handled. but there is evidence they were the workd to complete necessary and prepare analysis .or the rules am i reading that correctly? >> our report identifies failures by the contractor and failures by the government in the progress of the performance of the contract. >> what is getting lost in all forhis is the need environmental protection for coal mining communities. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have tried to focus
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on two things and it is clear they are opposed to any regulation of the mineral extraction industry and they are willing to use any amount of this committee's time and resources to blame the administration. get to are trying to hear is a good rule to protect work inle who live and this environment. here is my basic question -- do you think your report is complete? do you think is adequate? do you believe we need a further series of congressional investigations on this matter? >> congressman, i would have to respond to that by saying we
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undertook this investigation for two purposes. the first was to pursue allegations that some improper influence was applied to decision-making and a contractor might have been directed a stop on incorrect information to make .hanges to their calculations the second is that the contractor was treated unfairly in accordance with the rules. our investigation is complete with respect to those allegations and we did not find evidence to support either. >> i think that answers the questions that i have. i will yield back my time. and ihank the gentleman now recognize the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you for being here today, sir. we have had a lot of hearings in this room in my nine years here in college -- and congress. some of them go back to 1998 or
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1999 in the clinton administration regarding the deep water releases by the clinton administration. there was a woman involved in that process for the clinton administration. we have a report from the man who investigated that and he said he had not even questioned sylvia about why those leases failed to include the price control thresholds which my democratic friends have pointed out in prior earrings cost this nation's billions and billions of dollars. then she ends up going to work for british petroleum and so when i ask of a prior hearing, have you talked to sylvia about why she left out those price languages in the
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leases, she went to work for british petroleum, so she's not in our grasp. this administration under secretary salazar hired her back. i noted from your report that you talked to her on july 18 of 2012, so i am asking you, have you or someone finally talked to invia about her duplicity leaving out price threshold language that made oems and billions of dollars for big oil, then going to work for big oil and now coming back to work with the obama administration? do you know of anybody who has asked her about those leases that cost this country billions for her employer she soon went to? her and theiewed
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course of our investigation pertaining to the allegations we were investigating. >> which allegations were they? was that in regard to the language she left out in regard to price threshold question mark >> no. undue processes had been applied to change the rule for calculation of job loss whether therene was some mistreatment of a contractor. >> the president has talked so much about his disdain for big oil and yet he brings in somebody back from big oil that help big oil make billions and billions of dollars to the attachment of this country. do you anticipate you or someone asking about those since she is back working for this administration question are >> congressman, i'd don't have a current allegation or investigation pertaining to the
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scope you're describing. i don't anticipate a discussion at this point. >> it sounds like we are going to need to pursue this to give them the responsibility to pursue this matter. you mentioned earlier that there was a disagreement about which rule to apply. on july 17 of 2013, the department went back to district court, agreed at the environmental plaintiffs group's , asking if they could vacate the rule and the same request was denied in 2009. the federal district court told the administration than that granting the request to vacate the rule would wrongly allow the federal defendants to do what -- can i ask you
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who are the two sides that were disagreeing over which rule to apply? in the course of our case and the very many people we spoke two pointserged was of view on whether the 1983 rule or 2008 rule -- >> my time is running out and i've got to get to the point. what were the two groups? >> contractors associated with the work believe the 1983 rule should be applied and the leadership of the assembly believed the 2008 rule should be applied. >> that sounds very much like the political appointees president obama wanted to apply, the new rule and greer people the oldnted to defy rule and the need to quit
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costing this country millions of dollars and apply the rule the court said they have to apply. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. the gentleman has passed. mr. garcia? mr. carty this question mark >> i yield back. >> ms. shea porter? >> thank you. i think the american public would be really interested to hear what we are actually talking about alternately is is it ok to dump mining waste within 100 feet of a stream? is it ok to pollute regardless of what decisions have been made , i think the american public, especially people who live near that would be astounded that we are discussing this part of it instead of going back to the crux of it, which is there is something wrong with him being
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mining waste in streams. i just want to make sure we all know what we are actually arguing over here. i just have one question about this whole process. evidence at all that there was political interference here? >> congresswoman, there was no politicalf interference. >> thank you and i yield back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you. .hank you for testifying i would like to ask some questions about your investigation into statements made by the director in november of 2011. in an answer to a question, the director stated the 7000 job loss figure was a placeholder and had no basis in fact and based on no evidence. let's look at a short clip of his testimony on the screen
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here. job killingot rulemaking. arenumbers you referred to what contractors put together and they were fabricated based on placeholder numbers have no basis in fact. there been a second contractor that has come up with different numbers or you just don't >> the numbers the first contractor came up with were based on no evidence and have no basis in fact. >> you see he looks pretty confident in his statement these numbers are made up. your report lays out how the numbers were not pulled out of thin air. they were based on assumptions and wereby the staff the result of deliberation by the contractor. the report describes how he was told the numbers really, that they were based on good engineering practice and bust --
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.est practice he said the numbers were made up. would you agree with me that the director's testimony before this committee was not accurate? >> i do not feel i am in the position to say. when we spoke to the director in the course of our investigation, he expressed he had been led to believe the things he said here before the committee were true and that he was less aware of the process the contractor had undertaken to develop the numbers that were leaked. >> is in the fact a senior political appointee may not have provided accurate information to congress something serious that the inspector general's office should look into?
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>> our investigations are undertaken based on allegations of misconduct, plum -- complaints made by concerned citizens about matters affecting the department of the interior, and we do not have a clear case to date of a member of our department deliberately misleading the congress. >> it appears the director was either incompetent, in not word,tanding the placeholder, or he changed his tune over time to fit a political narrative, resulting in misleading testimony to congress at worse. shouldn't this be the basis of further investigation? work,the course of our the explanation we received from the director and the other people we spoke to during the course of the case indicated there were reasons for him figure was a 7000 placeholder, as it was said, that the contractors themselves
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may have introduced the word into the description of the number. but that actually there was more depth that derived the final number of estimated job loss figures. true, and this is how it appears to many of us, that the original contractor was fired because the loss of $7,000 is politically damaging? in other words, this is a case of killing the messenger because he carries bad news. >> we looked very carefully at the circumstances surrounding the decision not to extend the contract to the contractor. the fact is the contract with the contractor was not terminated. it had run its course and the option times that were available for the government to exercise were not exercised.
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>> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. my colleague suggested the obama administration and political with thes were at odds career civil servants over the baseline issue. is that an accurate characterization of the situation? >> could you repeat part of that question? odds?d you believe was at >> that the political climates from the obama administration and the career civil servants, where the baseline would be,he debate the important these wanting to insist on a baseline criteria and the civil service career
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folk, not that accurate. quest that would not be accurate. withinestigation found the osm, there was really only one political person, the director, involved at all. driving thewas not move toward using the 2008 rule for developing the baseline. -- all of the other members involved in that were career civil service employees. >> the debate was with in the career focus at the department. >> that is accurate. >> thank you. the blessed -- the bush administration and undoing the reagan rule, in terms of extreme , itection, that waiver assume, created a significant
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windfall for the companies in the area, at the expense to the health and the welfare of the region in general. this -- if this committee were continuing to chase its own tail in this particular issue, would it be prudent to also look at full the reaganion of rule? or full implementation of a role we have yet to see? to prepare this administration to thet that would do bottom line in terms of the mitigation these companies would have to pursue in order to meet the rule and guarantee some protection of health and welfare downstream, to residents and to the environment in general, would that be a prudent exercise? job about i want to see profit gains and what that would mean if -- even
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the reagan role is fully implemented. aboutave no opinion whether that would be a prudent course or not. our focus was to determine influencey improper was applied. >> a quick question. yes or no. ask you a not to question you cannot answer. contractor we are categorizing as a victim of clinical interference, that contract was not renewed because of cause. that cause was performance. >> in the course of our case, we looked at various factors and thevered evidence government was unsatisfied with contractor performance long before the 7000 job loss figure was released to the press, and
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that they were addressing issues of performance. it is also true that contractor to deliver a draft to the government as expected by the deadline. we have established, your previous response was that there was no improper and undue influence and political heavy handedness applied to the contractor in terms of that contractor's work roddick. >> we uncovered no evidence of that. >> is your office confident the investigation is adequate for the purpose of looking into the allegations of the buffer rule? and how it is being worked? and can this committee gain anything by continuing to investigate what has been investigated? >> we believe our investigation is thorough and complete
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pertaining to the allegations we sought to clear up and that involves whether or not lyrical pressure was applied improperly or whether the contractor was abused. >> i appreciate that and yield back to the chairman. . i recognize the gentleman from south carolina. >> i would like to yield my time to the lady who understands energy independence. >> i think the gentleman for yielding me his time. thank you for being here. we know one of the missions of the office of the inspector general is to investigate waste and ensure taxpayers are getting what they pay for. last year, the director informed this committee the office of surface mining at the time had spent $8.6 million to revise the 2008 rule. $6 million was for contractors and the rest was for osm staff.
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do you consider eight point $6 million to be excessive? particularly considering the rule has yet to be proposed? seen elements of cost and could not opine on the reasonableness of them. spent $3.7they million to pay for services acquired from the first contractor. he on that, i am unaware of the other expenses. they .6 you know how money dollars compared to the total cost of the 2008 rule? proposing and finalizing it? >> i do not. >> i can't elucidate this. 5 million dollars over five years, as opposed to $8.6 million over four years. and without actually now proposing a rule. given the information from the director, nine months old, do you know how much has been spent
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to present date? >> i do not. >> the issue of spending, a number of management problems were identified within osm for how it managed -- managed the rulemaking process is. is that correct? >> that is correct. said in itstment response to the report that osm appears to have learned important lessons from the experience with a previous contractor and appears to have implemented important changes to improve its management to the project. do you agree with the statement that management problems within the osm have been corrected and that new contracts are being properly managed? >> we have not undertaken an effort to examine the ongoing contracts. an opinion as to whether they actually implemented those changes or not. >> why is there an entire section of the report on issues within the new contract?
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>> the investigative team that looked into allegations here, the sus -- subject of our investigation, interviewed people who had roles in both the previous and current contract, so information was obtained they int was relevant to report our report of investigation pertaining to the ongoing contracting effort. the problem, of course, is the assertion of privilege by the department in releasing that information at this time. onwhat steps will you take an ongoing basis to ensure the problem has been corrected? >> at this point, the awesome -- office of investigation does not have a plan to pursue any continuing review of this protection rule process. i am certainly willing to talk to my colleagues about maybe scheduling something.
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>> given that, how can we be sure that more than five years into the process, the department is not continuing to waste taxpayer money with the effort to rewrite a 2008 rule that costs millions to issue? and it has never had a chance to go into effect across the country? >> there were a lot of problems with the previous contract that related to requirements, development, and timeliness, the pressure of time the government post on the process that contributed to the failure of the contractor in the end. if there have been any changes to the osm senior management as a result of these problems? or in response to the ig report? senior management that oversaw the earlier rewrite still overseeing this new effort? person,aware one key
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the former counselor to to the director of the osm has left and gone to a different agency. change ine shared -- am aware of. under the mat, i am not aware of any. >> the director is still there. a better joby do of managing this process and being a steward of the taxpayer money, if the same senior management is not in place? alleviateu help future problems here? >> if the experience of weaknesses are not new to our department or to the government generally, and the oig has a role in helping understand where we could have done better and tomunicating the information the department. we can certainly assist in understanding good procedures for contract administration.
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perhaps that is a start. >> i thank you and i thank the chairman for his indulgence. thank you. >> thank mr. duncan. he had the time. i continue on my side? ok. who is next? the chair recognizes the german from colorado. >> thank you for convening the hearing today and talking and taking a closer look. in january 2000 12, president obama visited my home state of colorado in what he considered to be in all of the above energy approach. he was merely paying lip service to the american public and in june of 2013, he announced his climate action plan. the plan does not represent a true, all of the above energy
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reproach. it picks winners and losers, wages a war on coal, and it is a continuation of the costly and ineffective policies of his first term. it will destroy thousands of jobs. all of thets a true above energy plan that embraces all of america posses vast energy resources and provides american families and businesses much-needed relief from the energy costs without killing good paying jobs. rather than pursuing and all the above energy plan, the administration continues to circumvent congress and turnout job killing regulations, cart -- targeting the coal industry. the pa hub list another role for will haveplants that dramatic economic consequences. president obama acknowledged some of the regulations will cost our economy over $1 billion annual and will increase energy rates for families and small business. justconomic analysis found
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one targeting the coal industry could destroy over 500,000 jobs, increase electricity prices by 20%, and cost the average american family an extra $1400 a year. the oig report we are discussing today revealed a taped meeting encouraging the contracting company to use different hypothetical variables to arrive at lower job loss numbers for the buffer zone proposed rule. when the vice president of the company pushed back, the council replied, stating, this is not the real world, but rulemaking. this out of touch mentality is inexcusable and the administration fails to recognize the rules and regulations advancing an anti- coal agenda have significant, real world, economic consequences for the american people. thank you for taking the time to
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be here. you testified you found the office of mining initially -- you then testified after the contract is estimated there would be high costs to the industry and significant job losses that the osm told the contractor to use seo eight rule so it was never implemented to lower the potential job loss numbers. a study or investigation, do you believe there was a willingness by certain agency employees to effectively cook the books in order to lower the potential job loss numbers? found whenstigation the decision by osm was made to use 2008 rule for calculating the baseline, there was awareness among decision-makers it would have the effect of lowering the estimated job loss figures. but, our investigation did not discover their motivations behind that decision.
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there was no evidence it was politically motivated. stated the reasoning behind using the 2008 rule was based simply on trying to identify the best possible product in accordance with the environmental protection act. >> we might tend to disagree on that. it looks as though they were attempting to cook the books, just a soft some of the potential outcome of the job numbers. did your investigation reveal any e-mail exchanges after the associated press report? to kill the 7000 jobs? >> yes, it did. >> would you summarize the content of e-mails? of themnot have all before me, but there is one i am aware of here that i do have. 27, in the january morning. from thee-mail
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counselor to the director in which the total -- the title of atis, "loss of coal jobs 7000. we body of the e-mail states should fire the contractor and put that on the front page with! . >> we should put that on the front page. did you review the recording made discussing the baseline? >> could you repeat that? >> the february 1, two thousand 11 meeting discussing the baseline, did you review that? >> we did. that tape?summarize >> the summary indicates there was a discussion between the contractor and the government about the project, generally, in two --text following the the january 2006 jobs number. essentially, the discussion
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centered on how to move forward in the project, concerns the government had about the contractor's performance, and fourse of the 2008 rule baseline income as opposed to the 1983 rule. >> this was when the comment was made, not the real world, but rulemaking e -- rulemaking? correct.s we found no evidence of political motivation, but this was an example of where a contractor was alerted very late about a pretty significant change to expectations. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the ranking member. he just restated, no instance of political misconduct was found. >> yes. >> ok. but you recount the testimony of a former officer the regulatory sport division chief, later that his testimony
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makes it sound like it was all political. have complete authority to review all of its communications and e-mail, and did you find any substance to support his allegations? >> his complaint indicated he perceived -- received political influence as part of the reasoning for the 2008 rule. but we found no evidence to corroborate that others had the same perception. in fact, the independent decisions of other members, aside from the counselor to the director,but we found no evideno rule,orate to use the 2008 left credibility to it just being a reasonable scientific choice. >> i still do not quite understand the rationale between 83 and 2008 -- and 08, but that is your expertise. yesterday, some senators sent a
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letter to janis snyder, nominated to be assistant rule, secretary for land and minerals management and in that letter, they said, the report shows political appointees at osm ordered career staff and subcontractors to change the method for estimating job losses, largely for political purposes. is that a true statement? >> as i have stated, we did not find evidence there were political motivations does -- motivations behind the statements. we found those were made and we reported how they impacted the contractor and the contractor's performance. we did not find evidence of political influence. >> what about the contracting process? it seems to me an incompetent contractor was hired. i will read a couple of quotes. department of environmental protection, wrote
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the draft analysis from the contractor was -- i -- it showed ofy little depth understanding and the characterization of this document as "junk" is not just one person's observation. we had similar analysis from another state where it had a major impact, wyoming. cap the ogle, the geological supervisor, the analysis is insufficient for a document of this importance. then one from virginia, another state with significant impact. i hope the eis will not be developed waste on this in accurate and incomplete information it -- contained in the document. it seems they hired someone totally incompetent. what will we do about that? that is a real question for inquiry. discovered over the course of our investigation, this contract was awarded to a andl business concern
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probably to accelerate a timeline of award, and although for seizures were followed, they chose a contractor who had limited experience in the none in and really programmatic eis such as this. the timeline for the award performance was very restrictive and it seemed the requirements the government expected were not well defined from the beginning. changes such as using the 2008 rule as opposed to the 83 rule came very late and a forte of the contractor a limited amount of time to make changes. i could go on and on. >> given the fact the contractor was essentially removed for incompetence or reason, not theyical influence, did suffer any financial consequences or rebate some of the money paid since they produced a product that was junk
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according to impartial officials from another state? agreed to thetor terms and conditions the government came to in terms of how the contract was ended. they were not terminated for convenience or default. we allowed the performance time to expire and the contractor was paid for all the services they had rendered. >> i have an overall concern with government contracting in general when we do not require performance of people do not have some coming from the state of oregon, which has the worst performance in the entire united states on hiring a contractor for its online services for the , the shop is -- i really think somehow, we need that havect contracts benchmarks. if you do not reach a benchmark
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at a certain point, you're out, or there will be penalties or withholding and you keep throwing these benchmarks and give somebody a bunch of money and they come back with what is described as junk and they say, we just let the contract expire taxpayer, iy, as a do not like that. thank you. gentleman from montana. >> thank you. thank you for being here today. i represent the state of montana. not only powers over 50% of our homes and businesses, but coal mining creates badly needed off in addition to mining the reservation. saturday, i was at the northern cheyenne reservation and asked the chairman of the tribe, what are your three top priorities? he said jobs, jobs, and jobs, as they face a 50% unemployment rate on the reservation. he added this -- he said to me
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-- and these are not words coming from the chairman of this committee or any of our witnesses. these are coming from the words of the chairman of the tribe of montana. he said, a war on coal is a war on crowe families. this rule we are seeing is another part of the president's war on coal. we know coal is one of the cheapest forms of electricity and a major job creator. months,the last 18 32,000 people in the coal industry have lost their jobs. the crow, people in montana, want to be self- sufficient and could -- and to control their own destiny. the federal government too often gets in the way. the crow people, they want to grow jobs. they do not want to see the federal government grow with overreaching regulations. you aboutke to ask the time constraints in place
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for developing this new string of protection rule. the 2008 rule underwent years of careful study. here is i have looked at the report and listen to your testimony, that does not aim to be the case. the report found the eis process was rushed. would you agree? >> yes. i would agree it was a short timeline. from late maywas of 2010 to november 19, 2010, if i read the court correctly. contribute some of the problems due to rushing this timeframe. >> yes. -- and thet contracting officer felt when they made it -- the decision to allow the performance to end, rather than take action, that the osm had a part in the performance failure of this contract. >> the contractors said they did not have enough time to complete a full analysis. >> that was true.
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it would've undertaken different techniques if they had more time. >> the question, i think, for the committee is, why was osm so rushed here when the agency spent years working on the prior rule? >> we threw interviews heard some witnesses saying they felt compelled to adhere to the court where the decision to set aside the 2008 rule was made, with a prom is by the administration by the department that they would be able to stream a draft protection rule by february 20, 2011. >> it sounds like it was because of the settlement the osm had agreed to with environmental theps who would challenge rule. >> that was the driving force, yes. >> would it be fair to say that closed-door settlement perhaps determined the timeframe for
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osm's rulemaking in this case? >> pertaining to the first contract and the matter we investigated, that seemed to be the case. herefind it very troubling that the osm's actions are being determined by court settlements, habitual litigants. i think this particular situation them are -- demonstrates a broader theme with the obama administration, when the agency agrees to habit. settle , and then is bound by the arbitrary and under -- unrealistic demands of the same organizations, we see the same thing with the esa litigation. we see the same thing in the timber industry. transparent.s not it is not how rulemaking is supposed to be conducted. i was very disappointed. i recognize the term "privilege was used. when we are charged with oversight responsibilities to make government more efficient and effective and we get reports
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that are redacted to look like this and we are trying to get to the bottom of what was going on here, i find it very troubling when the term "privilege" was is going to hide what on here. it is not only hurting the way the government operates, but importantly, it is hurting jobs and taxpayers. i yield back my time. >> his time has expired. the german from north dakota. you and thank you for being here, mr. knox. before i ask a couple of questions, i want to set a couple of things straight. prior to coming to congress, i spent nearly 10 years as a coal mining regulator in north dakota. i know a fair bit about the buffer zone rule and its history. a couple of things some of my colleagues said earlier bothered make and i want to straighten a couple of them out. not getting a predetermined
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preferred answer does not constitute incompetence by a contractor. one of my colleagues claimed we should try to get at a good rule to protect streams. another one of my colleagues suggested we should not be allowing or it should not be ok to dump mine waste into streams and that is what we should be focused on. i agree we should be focused on those things except there are good rules that already protect streams. i do not remove or any time in my 10 years as a coal mining waste in a stream was ok. do you know if that was approved under the 1983 rule or the 2008 rule? the 2008 rule is stricter than the 1983 role. is out of my area of expertise. >> it is well within mine and it was never ok and is not ok under rule, toor the 2008 dump mining waste. i want to follow-up a little bit on the ranking member and my friend from montana questioning
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the restricted time frame. in your investigation, did you ever examined how the primary contractor was chosen? there seems to be a lot of angst aimed at the contractor, and yet that contractor was chosen through some process. did you look at that at all? >> we did look at some of that. they are designated at small disadvantaged is his concern. they were selected through a limited competition held between a handful of companies deemed eligible to compete for this work and they were found to be the preferred technical choice. >> isn't it to compete for this work and they were found to be the preferred technical choice. >> isn't it true it was the that really insisted they need to hold full scope in sessions in order to comply with requirements, and it was really the osm staff that wanted to cut corners?
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in factaccurate it was the contractor who wanted to extend the process, and it was the osm staff that wanted to confine it? >> the contractor wanted to pursue the public hearings, but also, i believe our contracting office representative, who is therefore a large reason because of their experience, felt the same way. >> thank you. oft one other line questioning here, that i think mr. tipton was on earlier, relating to the osm director's her,il, diane, and some of what i consider to be disturbing, statements, the agencyrelated to engaged in what was not the real world, this is rulemaking. something that bureaucrats get
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accused of a lot and people think they are certainly not that insensitive to what is happening or the world is not that theoretical and it sounds to me it is. does this seem cavalier to you for somebody in that position to be overseeing a billion-dollar rulemaking that will impact thousands of american jobs, whether 7000 or some other ugly number? cavalier for been the council? >> i do not have an opinion about what meaning she meant when she used those words. what i would say cavalier is our investigation found that the decision by osm to use the 2008 rule was based on their believe that since it was the rule of law, it was the appropriate rule to use at the time. >> since i have just under a minute, i want to then pursue the issue of -- osm employees were embedded in the teams according to the contractor.
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eising teams worked on the and the riaa and they provided many written materials that showed up in the various chapters, which they then of course later criticized. am i wrong in that? i do not see any of it reflected i understand but from contractors that was the case. >> our investigation was looking influence andndue was the contractor treated unfairly with the end of their contract? we did not look at the issue you raise. >> my time is expired. to thislcome you committee. you have your first opportunity to ask questions, if you would like to. recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. i am the newest member of the house and committee. perhaps you want to ask questions that may seem elementary and obvious but i need to learn. you asserted with regard to the
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redacted document a privilege. i do not know what that is. can you cover the nature of the privilege? >> i am not an attorney so i am following the advice of my counsel. not asserting a privilege. >> i understand what you're saying there is a privilege somebody has that you feel you all cannot wait. you do not even know what the title or concept of the privileges? privilegecept of the relates to administrative rulemaking and while it is the agency engage in the rulemaking might have a privilege associated with the ongoing process. theho has the privilege and ability to waive or not waive it? >> my understanding is that the department would have the privilege and the ability to waive it. we have not asked my department to waive the privilege.
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it isl like, if information the committee needs, that the committee should direct to the department. >> you do not think it is the function of your office to carry the investigation so you can get to the point of having information that could potentially be important to rendering your judgment? >> actually, i do not feel qualified to answer that question. think we encounter this kind of stuff all that often. it seemed like we have had a couple of instances before this committee, but in my personal, professional career, this is perhaps the first time i've dealt with it. >> i may be new to congress, but i practiced law for over 30 years. i am used to the assertion of privileges and reduction documents. that is a pretty heavily redacted document from my experience. do you know the exact name of the person or the office who redacted that document? >> our reviewed all the
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reductions proposed by the department and rejected many he did not feel directly related to the ongoing rulemaking. actually restored information to what has been delivered to you when he felt it was legitimately the right thing to do and cap tradeking those things that were delivered if assess information. >> do you know what basis he used to make a decision about what is allowable reduction and what is not? >> i would probably say the wrong thing if i tried to stumble my way through that. i would have to say i do not know, except that it was only information that actually related to the ongoing deliberative process making. there is a second prong to our reasoning behind this, willingness to recognize the department's exercising more privilege. that is, simply, that our future
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access to information from the department is related to that area -- that. the department abides by the office for inspector general is thatt provides access. they do recognize there are instances where they have ongoing processes that are privilege. when they release the information to us, they expect it.o respect the fear we have is if we do not show that respect, we may lose the access we need in the future . >> i want to make sure i understand the answer to the last question. you have a fear that if you go too far, in pushing back on the assertion of privilege, that you may not get information that you functionerform your from a department of the united states government? you did not mean to leave that impression. >> you use the word fear. >> i misspoke. we have a concern that if we actually do not recognize the with our they assert,
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own validation that the information falls in this case within the deliberative process making, that we would not, in the future, have access to the information the department may have regarding an ongoing process. >> i agree with some of the member's assertions that the substance of the rulemaking is important. to the people of the united states, process is also important. transparency to process is critical to the function of our government and he gives the appearance in a heavily redacted document like that, that we do not have true transparency. i urge you and your office to think more and think harder, about when and how reductions like that are allowed. thank you and i yield back. >> i think the gentleman for his line of questioning. thank you for joining us today. i want to go to page 17 of your report, which states, he'd
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knowledge the probability that both osm staff and the contractor made bad judgments. the report goes on in quite a bit of the tale about the shortcomings of the contractor. aboutshort in detail problems within osm and the decision-making there and where problems were there. you give me more detail about the director's statements about osm and what your findings about what happened within osm as far as the decision- making process and where things went awry? >> are you referring to the decision-making regarding the contractor in the contract or regarding the decision to use the 2008 rule? >> both if you could comment on both. >> my understanding from my investigation is that the director was really not that involved. he was being briefed by his wasselor, but the counselor
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much more engaged in the process and was really making the decisions in briefing the director, who agreed the use of the 2008 buffer zone rule was the right one to use for a baseline determination. standpoint, you are saying essentially internally, the direction was going to the contractor, and that the problems that arose from that was a result of actions within the osm? >> the contractor was informed in the summer that they should use the 1980 through and continue with that understanding until 2011. that was a considerable time. the contractor was expected to have a draft eis delivered to the government on the 23rd of february 22 days later. that is really where the problem started.
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>> going off on a side part of that line of questioning, in your report, you detail how the former regulatory support division chief told you receiving an e-mail from counsel in the last week of january, 2011, essentially saying, there was a push for him to find a way for contractors to produce more favorable job loss numbers. he went on to say that he felt like the director and his counsel were trying to cook the books. , how did that come individual'sat perspective? how did he feel that was happening within the agency? to the your reaction interview -- information provided to you by former division chiefs? i am friend look at the dynamics of somebody saying, i feel like they were cooking the books. is that something that normally occurs in the process? is somebody to note that
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reservation or concern? and what the reaction is within the agency to that? >> our investigation looked very carefully at the assertions made by that person. we used those assertions in each of the interviews that followed with other members of the staff and contract employees. there was no one who really felt the same way and perceive meetings in the same matter and saw the political influence that person reported to us. left with a report that informs the department, the bureau, and this congress, of our findings. >> in your experience doing these investigations, is it a findingsurse in those to see a career employee make these kinds of accusations against a political appointee? >> i would say in my experience, a career unusual
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employee might make a complaint. or, in this case, make a statement. in this case also, you have to look at a whole pattern of work this person had been involved in. and the performance of that work. inmate communications to the contractor that were reversed. he had been slow to inform the contractor of decisions that needed to be made, and had consistently, along the way, inform the director that all was well and things were fine and that he had control of the circumstances. >> let me ask you one less question. do you have any reason to believe the former regulatory support division chief was not telling the truth? >> we do not have any reason to believe anyone was not telling the truth. we have a series of different perceptions and experiences based on their part of the whole process. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes a gel
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made from oklahoma. >> thank you. thank you for being here. it might come as a surprise that oklahoma has a diverse coal industry. we have drops to the coal industry. it is quite concerning to me because those jobs are in my district, which is a pretty poor district, that the president says he has a war on coal. he declared it. it is an important energy source we have. entertain me a little bit. allow me to understand what it is exactly you are investigating. focusednvestigation was just on the question of whether, in the process of developing a stream session role, the zoneion to use 2008 buffer
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rule was made for political purposes, and secondly, whether the contractor, who refused -- it was alleged -- >> why would you even consider it being politically driven? meseems pretty obvious to when he declared his war on coal. all of the sudden, we are investigated. i would be curious how many dollars of the taxpayers paid out for investigation that he does not favor coal. my question is, you guys -- do you know how much you guys have spent investigating something so obvious? >> i do not have a calculation of the man-hours. >> let me switch gears a little bit. did you prepare your statement, your testimony? >> i did. >> in your belief, do you
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believe this administration does or does not have a political driven agenda on coal? he stated a war on coal. opinion on have an the matter. you know how much we spent total conducting these studies? where of the $3.7 million figure, 269 that was paid to this contractor. >> do you know how much we spent on the current contractor? >> maybe we're not talking about the same thing. >> on the first contractor, awarded a contract, it has been brought up several times the contractor was fired because of the confidence. redoe happy to go back and
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something he did. i am a contractor myself. every time i enter a contract, i have to be bonded. if i failed to do it right and someone else has to come in behind me to redo it, then my bond is called. and i have to either do it or i lose my bond on it. no action was taken on this? >> this contractor was not terminated for poor performance. >> i heard you say that over and over. everybody's perception, because of what the first reports were, that this administration was was that he was fired. was firedactor because of incompetency. that is what we keep hearing. i understand that.
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i'm here today to tell you no termination was made in that odd factor's performance. of your investigation should be, why was that used to begin with and why was this administration putting that out to begin with? if it was not politically driven? >> the office of inspector general for the department of the interior is focused on matters that affect the programs of our department. -- that but theu say first question i asked you was what you are investigating and -- you were saying if it was clinically driven or not. did you not? so the first reports that came out about the contractor, that was no longer able to do this was perceived by the public because the words of this administration -- not because he was fired for incompetency. your investigation now showed he was not actually fired for being incompetent. ,ut because the contract ended
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so that alone shows it was clinically driven. it is just my simple thinking. i appreciate your time. i will yield back. of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gem in california. >> thank you. him taking part here today. when we look at our energy portfolio for a nation here, we look at the various options we have or do not have, hydropower is important to us in northern california. ability to build new hydro-storage has been severely curtailed by concerns. indeed, there is a movement underway to remove these projects in california. nuclear power, in california, a plant is being closed. the prospect of going much more
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nuclear power in the u.s. or anywhere, for kachina and japan, that put a damper on that. at coal providing to our nation somewhere around 40% of the entire energy grid for electricity and yet we have the war on coal and investigations like this and regulations as my colleague mentioned a while ago on the 2008 rule, more on stream buffers versus the 1983 rule. i do not understand what is going on with the changing of the rules like that. what alternatives will be in the cole, a currently large chunk of the nation's energy supply, and how that will ,e replaced in federal terms which, i guess a waiver was made the choppingllow
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up of eagles and other raptor then, solar, which, you know, might be ok, but it is quite expensive as long as incentives keep coming. other things over solo. -- solar. it is difficult for me to .nderstand the jobs that go that and the economy that goes with that allow to be perpetrated. going back to what my new colleague from alabama was speaking of, i find it incredible your office would feel like you have to play nice with the people you are investigating in order to have the information either now or in the future be available. notreally feel if you do play nice in particular ways, that in the future, or even
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under current investigations, that they may not make information available to you? i think the american public would find it interesting. you think there is a possibility they may climb up on you? factor we are aware of that the department, if they have a privilege to certain records and we do not respect that privilege, they may not choose to release that sort of information to us in the future. it has never happened. it is one consideration. we have cometally, here today providing our report with redaction, but i should point out the reduction is only about a page and a half out of a very long report of information antaining to issues on ongoing process, and ongoing administrative process. it is not at all focused on the center of our investigation, or, i believed, the purpose i was asked to come here to testify today. >> it may be a small part or not
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a big yield an overall scope. i think it overturns for me as a new member there is a concept that information can be so privileged it is not even available to you even behind closed doors in an investigation. and that all of us should be in the light of day for american public because the american public is who pays us and pays expecting to are have the power go back to the people in the washed us, not just the agencies behaving poorly in a lot of cases. that might be a further cause for follow-up in the future that this sort of privilege could be abused and even thought it was so warranted. i appreciate that line of questioning from my colleague as well. with that, yield back my time. thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. >> thank you.
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time tolike to yield my the chairman. >> i think the gentleman for yielding. let's put things into perspective here just to make sure, to cap slides everything that has been asked of you. prior to january 26, 2011, the direction the contractors were given was to use a 1983 baseline and the main reason was because that is the one that had been in the 2008 baseline had not been in effect. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> ok. >> you mentioned january? contractors i do not believe were alerted to the change until the beginning of february. >> ok. i should probably explain why january 26 was so important. that is when the story of the job loss was leaked. there was discussions than about
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the competence of the report did and the say the osm was certainly involved because of the confusion and the rush. all of that was true, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> you were charged in finding there was any political motivation, a hard thing to prove. prior to the leak of the ap, you stated there was no discussion of firing the contractors. is that correct? >> yes. >> yes. qwest regarding the baseline, there is no discussion the baseline is correct. the contractors were given the to use the baseline, but that changed.
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when you look at evidence where a contractor was given evidence to use the baseline because that was the only one you could probably get solid facts, and then after a leak comes out, that using that baseline means there will be some job loss, and all of a sudden there are come to one has to just notnclusion that you did unearth. let me be soft on this issue. when you look at the facts, it is hard to come to another ,onclusion, to suggest especially given this it ministration'sconclusion, givens ,dministration costs, i guess announcement of a war on coal. it is hard to conclude that where there is smoke there is not some fire.
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i recognize and respect the fact that you did not come to that conclusion based on your interviews. what when you just look at the timeline, it is hard to not say that there may be some interference there. i will yield back to the gentleman from utah. this is initially a statement. the role of the omt is about transparency. if notrency leads to, good government, better government. the actions -- i find that troubling, given this perception of what the oig should be about. troubles may, not just in the area of natural resources but what this means for all areas. first, i want to make sure we understand the timeline.
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the environmental impact statement contract in may 2010. werecember 2010, there still insisting on using the 1983 rule. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> after the job loss figure was 2011, osmn january all of a sudden changed course and decided to use the 2008 rule. january 2011, job figures leaked. 2000 11, almost immediately, osm demands contractors use a 2008 rule and moves to terminate the contract. is that sequence of events right? >> essentially correct, except they did not move to terminate the explored -- >> they did not renew. i appreciate that in your testimony, that clarification. the ig find- did
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osm staffers acknowledged that using the 2008 rule as a baseline would result in a lower job loss figure than would result if the 1983 rule was used? yes. several osm employees expressed a feeling that it would have an effect of lowering the job loss. >> changing the baseline would change the job numbers. is not in effect in my state, pennsylvania. the vast majority of the country, the 1983 rule is still in effect. -- theans the reality number of job losses across the country from this new rule will actually be more severe. is that correct? >> it is my understanding the
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2008 rule is only in effect for the u.s. >> is there a determination of the consequence of applying the 2008 rule in what sounds like the vast majority of the country, where it has not been followed? that would result in -- that basically would change? >> in our investigation, we repeatedly heard that proposition from people we interviewed, but we never did get presented with any sort of calculations that would compare the outcome between the rules. firm in your testimony, in your findings, that the osm staffers knew that changing the baseline would change the job numbers? >> that is correct. was in theofficial
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ig report saying that using 1983 rules was more honest and accurate. was he right? >> again, congressman, it is not my field of expertise. my understanding of the issues surrounding that kind of statement from that individual and the general feeling from the others who supported the use of the 1983 rule is that you are dealing with actual data, whereas in the states that are not currently using the 2008 rule to apply that rule would mean coming up with some data speculatively. hypothetically, about what production would look like in those states, if they had the use of the 2008 rule. policyainly, for making decisions to be effective -- we do not want to work with speculation. we want to work with good data. finally, i would like to ask you about a statement made by counsel in the ig report.
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this is not the real world. this is rulemaking. appliede 1983 rule was credit they off in rulemaking land? staff felt that because it was on the books that it was a rule that should be applied. >> the gentleman did very well, and we are taking note of it. hearing focuses on one specific aspect of the obama administration more on coal, i would like to take a moment and make some observations about how this ad more on coal and more generally the use of rules and regulations to bypass the policy process of have disastrous consequences to
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my district and other districts across rural america. whether it was a requirement of carbon capture technology on a new plant that is not yet viable, or to cap and mentions -- cap in missions from existing plants, it is clear demonstration is not giving up its plans to make coal plants more affordable and shut down mostoal plant that powers of the midwest. if we cannot use reliable energy coal provides, lights across rural missouri and america will be out. my constituents and their employers depend on the affordable, reliable energy that coal power provides. with the economy as it is, this certainly is not the proper time to raise electric rates on folks that are just scraping by, forcially the justification
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massive rate -- rate heights based in pseudoscience and conjecture. time and time again, this congress has rejected in a bipartisan fashion initiatives like cap and trade that would make dramatic policy changes to the way the coal industry operates. the response to a congressional rejection of policy change should not be to go around congress through the rulemaking process. today's hearing about the so- ruled stream protection and the outrageous events surrounding its botched rollout by this administration highlights the lengths they will go to circumvent the policy process by attempting to make changes through rules and regulations. when you dismiss data based on what it says, in the face of no other alternatives, you are making a political decision and not a regulatory one. mr. knox, i have a couple of questions. the report


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