FILE - In this April 10, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens as he meets in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington. Trump said Thursday, April 12, that an attack on Syria could take place “very soon or not so soon at all!” (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

U.S. lawmaker opposes drilling permit work during shutdown

Lawmaker objects to the department changing plans to allow employees to work on upcoming offshore lease sales

The oil and gas industry should not be spared the pain of the partial government shutdown, according to the chairman of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

Rep. Raul Grijalvaon Tuesday sent a letter to Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt objecting to the department changing plans to allow employees to work on upcoming offshore lease sales, seismic permits and a five-year offshore oil and gas leasing plan in Alaska and elsewhere.

“One of the most striking features of the current government shutdown, brought about entirely by the President’s insistence on building an entirely unnecessary border wall, is the way the administration has bent over backwards to ensure that the pain of the shutdown falls only on ordinary Americans and the environment, and not on the oil and gas industry,” the Arizona Democrat wrote.

READ MORE: FBI agents say U.S. government shutdown affecting operations

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-California, also signed the letter. McCollum chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee for the Interior Department.

Grijalva called on Bernhardt to reverse course, and if he refuses, to provide a briefing on the legal justification for what appeared to be a violation of the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits federal agencies from spending money in advance of an appropriation.

Interior spokeswoman Faith Vander Voort in an email response said department officials would be happy to meet with the Natural Resources Committee as appropriate.

“And we are confident that we are fully meeting our legal obligations,” she said.

Grijalva said President Donald Trump’s “temper tantrum” over a wall built on the border with Mexico has taken a toll, with 800,000 federal workers missing paychecks, Native Americans at risk of losing access to food and health care, travellers facing extended delays in airport and national parks piling up with trash.

READ MORE: Shutdown becomes longest federal closure in U.S. history

He called it outrageous that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management updated its contingency plan allowing employees to work to comply with the administration’s America First energy strategy.

The administration cares only about its favourite industry, he said.

“Your department has continued to hold public meetings on oil and gas development on the North Slope of Alaska, refused to extend the comment period for leasing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and opened up the Bureau of Land Management field offices to allow drilling permits to continue to be issued,” Grijalva said.

Dan Joling, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

October is Plastic Free Month in Nelson

City will examine its own plastic use and encourage public to do the same

Don Currie, local athletes win medal haul at 55-plus B.C. Games

Slocan’s Currie took home seven gold medals in track and field

Local runners tackle Toad Mountain

The 25 kilometre and 50 km event took runners over the top of Toad Mountain

Leafs fall 5-1 to Thunder Cats

Nelson is winless through its first two games

Disability employment awareness month: open house and inclusive employer award

Events take place in Nelson and Castlegar this week

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

20 day search for missing Labradoodle in Princeton, B.C. ends with tears of joy

The search brought out bloodhounds, and groups hoping to find Mordy

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, expert says

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

Most Read