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GOP 'shooting blanks' on oil and mining

March 29, 2012 at 8:03 AM

WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- Republican leaders are lobbing empty accusations at the White House in their investigation of oil drilling and coal mining, a Democratic representative said.

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee authorized subpoenas to the White House for its handling of oil drill and coal mining. The measure was passed along party lines in the Republican-controlled committee.

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the committee, said in a statement that he had "serious questions" for the White House.

"The economic stakes are very high," he said. "Thousands of American jobs and American energy production have been or will be impacted by these Obama administration policies."

The issue on drilling targets a report from the U.S. Interior Department that was edited by the White House in such a way that it appeared the energy sector backed a decision to impose a moratorium on offshore drilling following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The mining issue relates to coal regulations and stream buffer zone rules.

A spokesman for the Interior Department, Adam Fetcher, was quoted by Politico as saying the agency was cooperating but had concerns about efforts to "compromise executive branch deliberations."

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., ranking member of the House committee, said his Republican counterparts were "shooting blanks" at the White House.

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