The Interior Department`s Culture of Contempt

Oops, they did it again. President
Obama`s grabby-handed environmental bureaucrats have
earned yet another spanking from the federal judiciary
over their "determined disregard" of the rule of law.
Isn`t it time to give these misbehaving government
hooligans a permanent timeout?

Federal judge

Martin Feldman
in Louisiana

excoriated the Obama Interior Department Wednesday

for defying his

May 2010 order
to lift its groundless ban on offshore oil and gas
drilling in the Gulf. Nine months later, not a single
permit has been issued. Several deepwater platforms have
moved out of the area to take their businesses—and an
estimated 5,000 jobs—overseas. Billions of dollars in
potential oil revenue and Gulf lease sales-related rent
have also dried up.

Interior Secretary Ken

The Loathsome Cowboy
—thumbed his nose at the judge`s

preliminary injunction
last June and dragged his
feet into July, when his bureaucracy

its bid for a stay from the U.S. Court of
Appeals. Salazar then concocted a second
moratorium to replace the one Feldman had nullified
as "arbitrary and capricious, and therefore, unlawful." The second
deepwater drilling ban (which oil spill czar Michael
Bromwich admitted was
congruent with the original moratorium"
) was
"lifted" in
October, but

still no permits were issued.

This is because Team Obama`s
eco-radicals never intend to approve them.

Every step of the way, the White
House team has displayed unbridled defiance—by
continually broadcasting its intent and determination to
impose the blanket moratorium in spite of the judicial
order, and by ramming through a second sweeping ban that
did nothing to address the court`s concerns after the
injunction was issued.

The Interior Department`s contempt
for the law is outweighed only by its contempt for sound

Remember: Salazar is the

data doctor
who falsely claimed that the
administration`s blanket moratorium report was endorsed
and peer-reviewed by seven scientific experts—when, in
fact, eight of the scientists studying the issue for the
government explicitly said they
"do not agree
with the six-month blanket moratorium"
on floating

Remember: The Interior Department
inspector general publicized e-mails in November showing
that Salazar`s office and former environmental czar

Carol Browner`
s office collaborated on the

false rewrite
of the White House offshore drilling
ban report. While the inspector general found no
conclusive evidence of wrongdoing and the White House
denied any attempt to mislead the public, Feldman
pointed out that
"at the hearing on the first moratorium, in response to
a question by the Court, the government`s answer then
was wholly at odds with the story of the misleading text
change by a White House official, a story the government
does not now dispute."

As GOP Congressman Joe Wilson of
South Carolina would have

put it
more bluntly:

"You lie."

In addition to the lost jobs and
lost revenue already sacrificed at the altar of
"safety," the
Interior Department will now siphon tax dollars to pay
for the
legal fees of the plaintiffs as a
result of the contempt ruling. Another affected
business, Century Exploration New Orleans, Inc., filed a
drilling ban-related complaint against the department
last week claiming

breach of contract
—which could add yet more millions
or billions to publicly subsidized legal costs.

Jim Adams, president and CEO of the
Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), noted the
massive gap between Obama`s words and actions this week:
"[T]housands of
workers are out of jobs, Americans are paying more for
gasoline and heating oil, and our nation is becoming
even more dependent on unstable nations for our energy
needs. President Obama talks a lot about jobs and energy
independence. Now it`s time for him to back up his words
with action and call off his de facto moratorium.

Americans want an end to this manmade disaster."

But instead of reining Salazar in,
the White House is happy to let him wage the
administration`s continuing war on the West with
impunity. Despite pleas from both Democratic and
Republican officials at all levels of government to
retreat from an

administrative usurpation of wild lands
that he
slipped through during the Christmas season lame duck
session, Salazar is moving full speed ahead. Adding
audacious insult to economic injury, Salazar this week
unveiled new "scientific integrity rules" to

"end political manipulation of science" and
"encourage an
environment of rigorous open discussion."

The Obama culture of corruption
meets the culture of contempt. It`s a toxic slick that
will ultimately be left to voters to clean up.


Michelle Malkin

is the author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our


for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click


for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin
is also author of

Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild

and the just-released

Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.