Louisiana Senator accuses Salazar, Bromwich of misleading public on number of pending permits

Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has sent a scathing letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael Bromwich about pending permits for offshore drilling. In the letter, Vitter accused Salazar and Bromwich of misleading the public on the number of pending permits.

Vitter’s claim rests on a Department of Justice filing last week that said there are more permits waiting to be approved than Salazar and Bromwich have let on.

“Over the last several weeks and months, you have indicated publicly, before Congress, and privately to members, including myself, that there are only a handful of permits awaiting agency action,” Vitter wrote in his letter.

“It is a mathematical impossibility for your representations to be accurate, as well as the filings of the Department of Justice to be accurate,” he added. “It is not possible for there to be ‘too few permits’ awaiting review, and simultaneously ‘too many’ permits being reviewed to make issuing a particular handful problematic.”

Vitter’s letter comes just two weeks after Salazar testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that his agency has received only 47 shallow water permit applications in the last nine months. Of those, Salazar also said only seven deep-water permits were pending.

However, in a filing last week, DOJ warned of potential dangers from “re-prioritization [resulting] from the court’s orders” because there are, in fact, 270 shallow water permit applications and 52 deep-water applications pending.

As The Daily Caller previously reported, the reason it may appear that there is a low number of pending permits is because many are in limbo, waiting to be “deemed submitted” by BOEMRE and the Interior Department.

“There are applications made on a daily basis that aren’t being shown up on BOEMRE’s statistics for being submitted,” Jim Noe, senior vice president of Hercules Offshore, told TheDC at the time. “It’s disingenuous for Bromwich to point out relatively low number of pending permits for proof that there is low demand to drill.”

When contacted by TheDC, an Interior Department official explained the conflicting numbers by saying that the higher figure is due to the inclusion of Applications for Permit to Modify (APMs). The official went on to say that APMs are not traditionally used when discussing pending permits since they are not applications for new wells, just for modifications of old ones.

  • centexan

    Why didn’t somebody just say, “It’s not a permit application until we say it’s a permit application.” Now, THAT sounds governmental. Anything can be put on the back burner with that logic. Just wish I could afford the fuel to run the back burner.

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  • philo

    So much for the party of ‘good government.’

  • SamAdams25

    To call Salazar, or any official in this administration, “disingenuous” is being overly courteous. Every one of them twist the truth, purposely leave out pertinent facts, and outright lie. They are not to be believed, much less trusted.

  • letsbehonest

    If anyone knows about “misleading” people it would definitely be David “Whore Chaser” Vitter. lol

    • talibangelical

      Be nice. He is a modern family man who knows how change a diaper, albeit his (allegedly) own.

    • didacticrogue

      Nice to see y’all are getting along at the kids’ table.

    • des1

      So now you hate female prostitutes?

      Why are all Liberals misogynists?

      • talibangelical

        For me it is not the “pros” but the diapers that I find hilarious coming from a “family values” conservative.

        There are a lot of things you can escape in life and Americans are generally very forgiving. But there are some things that are tough to shake.

    • Taxpayer

      Ben Franklin was a “whore chaser.” So I guess we should just tear up the Constitution, then. Oh, wait, the libs have already done that….

    • TedPearson

      Are you angry at him for fighting to get oil production going again or the fact that he knew your mom?

  • revpettibone

    Not only is Salazar being disingenuous with his claim, but last week the president in an effort to take credit, deceived the American people when he said. “we are now pumping more oil than ever before.” Clearly the man thinks we’re fools. That we don’t know the oil coming up from the ground now is a result of permits granted way before Mr Obama ever stepped foot in Washington.

    • Drahcir

      To understand this quote, one needs to read between the words,

      “we are now pumping more oil than ever before.”

      We, the Arab Tribes, are now pumping more oil than ever before. Yet again trying to take credit that he doesn’t deserve!

    • maggie8

      and most were on permits issued by Clinton, Obama won’t even give credit to another Democrat……

  • Dave J

    Congratulations Senator Vitter. It’s nice to see courage in the face of such lying thuggery.