Interior IG under House fire

03/28/2013

House Republicans unleashed a new attack on the government watchdog responsible for a criticized investigation into allegations of scientific misconduct in an environmental report that found major noise impacts from Drake’s Bay Oyster Company. Doc Hastings, the House Natural Resources Committee chairman, accused Department of the Interior Acting Inspector General (IG) Mary Kendall of deferential treatment of Interior officials and called on the Obama administration to nominate a permanent inspector general for the post. In an open letter to the President, Rep. Hastings wrote, “For too long, their accommodation of the Department’s leadership has compromised and undermined the professional work of the IG’s career staff. It is time to end the decline in trust that has resulted from their administration of the IG and provide the office with a clear leader empowered with the authority that flows from the permanence and independence of a Presidential nomination and Senate confirmation.” Ms. Kendall has been in her position since 2009 and oversaw the office’s second investigation into government science at Point Reyes. The watchdog report found no evidence of misconduct but downplayed evidence contradicting its conclusions, this newspaper reported last week. Kris Kolesnik, a spokesman for the IG, did not return requests for comment, but in an earlier statement he called the report a “selective soliloquy” that paints “a very biased picture.”