In announcing a new offshore drilling suspension Monday, the Interior Department indicated that a new presidential commission’s findings would have an effect on getting oil rigs back to work – but that was news to the commission.
The commission learned about its role in finding safe ways to restore drilling from U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who made an unscheduled appearance before the new panel in New Orleans on Monday.
She read a statement from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, which stated that the information collected by the commission would be among three items the Obama administration would consider in determining what kinds of new drilling would be allowed.
That surprised commission co-Chairman William Reilly, who said his panel wouldn’t have the responsibility to recommend “near-term policy” and reiterated that last week a top Interior official informed him the administration would fight for a moratorium regardless of what the commission recommended.
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