But that wasn’t the end of the story. In May 2011, a government whistleblower came forward. He alleged that Kendall in fact colluded with Interior officials during her “independent” investigation. And then, after exploring this claim, a congressional committee unveiled specific materials that showed that Kendall had actually attended meetings in which Interior officials reviewed working drafts of the very same report she later was tasked with investigating — a clear conflict which Kendall never revealed.
Once confronted with this startling conflict, Kendall confirmed her attendance in those meetings to USA Today, claiming she “was an active listener” but not an “active participant in these meetings.”
As Mark Twain once famously said: “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Unfortunately, it can also have serious, real-world consequences, unlike a cleverly written political thriller.
The biggest consequence in this case is that major energy exploration and new production in the Gulf of Mexico was basically turned off for more than six months. Many thousands of workers directly involved in that work were laid off. Many more in oilfield service and related support businesses lost their jobs and livelihoods or were forced to split from their families and seek work overseas. Eleven massive deepwater rigs left the Gulf of Mexico for redeployment in Brazil, Africa, even Australia. Other rigs that were headed to the Gulf turned away and shallow-water rigs were idled. The economic hit to my state of Louisiana was actually bigger than that of the recent recession.
In light of all of this, I’ve joined with other Senate colleagues from the Gulf region in calling for an independent Integrity Committee to conduct a thorough and accurate investigation and get to the bottom of the apparent inspector general cover-up. They are actively reviewing the matter now.
It’s pretty outrageous that politics seem to have tempered significantly the inspector general’s investigation. And that politics and ideology, not sound science, is what led to the unprecedented moratorium decision in the first place.
It would all make for one heck of a political thriller. If only it were fiction.