Ranking Member Grijalva Requests Phone Records of Top Offshore Regulator Scott Angelle, Seeks Explanation for Lack of Transparency

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who is expected to become Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee in the 116th Congress, today sent a letter to Joe Balash, the Department of the Interior (DOI) assistant secretary for land and minerals management, requesting all calls to and from the personal cell phone number of Scott Angelle, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), that occurred from May 23, 2017, through November 12, 2018.

The full letter is available at http://bit.ly/2FrZzwj.

The request comes as questions mount about Angelle’s relationships with the fossil fuel companies BSEE regulates. A March 10 feature-length profile in the New York Times underscored Angelle’s long history of favoring industry demands for shorter permitting times and loosened regulatory scrutiny, and a recent segment on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver highlighted audio of Angelle encouraging industry figures to call his cell phone to skirt public records laws that might eventually lead to the publication of emails or written requests.

In today’s letter, Grijalva writes in part:

It is inappropriate for federal regulators to encourage the entities they regulate to avoid public records laws. There is currently no way for the public to know who Director Angelle has talked to, how often, for how long, or whether those discussions were relevant to BSEE decisions. Director Angelle has made a mockery of transparency and public trust in federal decision-making, and his actions create the appearance of a preemptive cover-up. As the Deepwater Horizon disaster showed us, the issues in his jurisdiction are a matter of life and death. The American people have a right to know whether Mr. Angelle is placing industry interests ahead of their quality of life.

Grijalva, who has promised vigorous oversight of potential conflicts of interest at the DOI political appointee level in the 116th Congress, asks for the records no later than Dec. 1 of this year.

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