POGO and allies just delivered a letter to key Senate leaders in support of Senator Ron Wyden's (D-OR) amendment to the Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2010 (S. 3516). The amendment would go a long way towards slowing down the revolving door, which has been spinning out of control between the oil and gas industry and the Department of the Interior.
As we write in the letter, "The Deepwater Horizon disaster dramatically illustrates the enormity of the risk to our safety, the environment, the economy, and the general public interest by the capture of government agencies by private industry. The revolving door between the oil and gas industry and its regulator is at the rotten core of the lax oversight that led to oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico."
Specifically, the amendment would:
- Expand current restrictions to ban all Interior Department employees with responsibilities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act from lobbying for industry for two years after leaving Interior;
- expand current restrictions to ban all Interior Department employees with responsibilities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act from making lobbying contact with Interior for at least one year after they leave;
- add a two-year cooling-off period banning former Interior employees from employment with any party that had interests pending before them in their previous year of civil service;
- ban Interior employees brought into the Department from industry from overseeing matters relating to any former industry employer or client for two years; and
- add civil and criminal penalties to violations of these restrictions (which are sorely lacking in current restrictions).
POGO and twelve other good government groups sent the letter to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
-- Bryan Rahija