Louisiana Senator Blocks NOAA Nominee Over De Facto Drilling Ban

Camilo Rodriguez /

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) announced today he would block the confirmation of Dr. Scott Doney to be chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration due to “concerns over scientific integrity at federal agencies and the White House.”

These concerns stem from the recent Gulf offshore drilling moratorium and the ongoing lag in permit issuance since the ban was lifted in October. In a letter sent to President Obama today, Vitter characterizes it “as a continuing de facto moratorium.”

Vitter also plans to hold a hearing before the Senate Small Business Committee on the Interior Department’s inspector general report that found a White House drilling safety report had been edited in a way that, “led to the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer-reviewed by the experts,” when it had not. The executive summary became part of Interior’s safety report that was used to justify the controversial moratorium.