Monday, December 09, 2013

Bishop widens probe into Park Service's withdrawn comments on BLM rule

A leading House Republican yesterday asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to weigh in on the National Park Service's decision last month to withdraw hydraulic fracturing comments that were submitted without its director's approval. Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees national parks, told Jewell he's troubled that the Park Service "lacks a system of data accountability and quality control." He asked Jewell to clarify how Interior Department bureaus review and submit comments on rulemakings and whether any other Interior agencies have commented on the Bureau of Land Management's draft hydraulic fracturing rule. He also asked whether Jewell has taken steps to ensure that agency employees do not submit "erroneous, inappropriate and unapproved comments," or whether employees are educated on the agency's comment protocols. Park Service Director Jon Jarvis last month acknowledged that the comments inappropriately relied on editorials rather than peer-reviewed science, though he did not call them inaccurate (EnergyWire, Nov. 27). "I have requested that the comments be withdrawn from the record," Jarvis wrote to Bishop in a letter dated Nov. 12. "The comments did not undergo management review, they were not on official letterhead, and they were not signed." Jarvis added that neither he, the White House nor the Office of Management and Budget had reviewed the comments...more

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