Is Obama's Interior Secretary lying about drilling permits, or his Justice Department? 

President Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told Congress recently that his department has received only seven deepwater drilling permit applications and 47 for shallow water drilling in the past nine months.

That caught Sen. David Vitter's attention because he recalled that the Department of Justice told a federal judge last week that there are actually 270 shallow water drilling permit applications pending and 57 deepwater applications.

Which is it? The 54 applications Salazar claims or the 327 claimed by the Justice Department? Does the Obama administration's left hand know what it's far-left hand is doing?

Vitter sent a scathing letter today to Salazar and to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Regulation director Michael Bromwhich, who repeated Salazar's numbers, concerning the discrepancy. In his letter, Vitter pointed out that:

"It is a mathematical impossibility for your representations to be accurate, as well as the filings of the Department of Justice to be accurate. It is not possible for there to be ‘too few permits’ awaiting review, and simultaneously ‘too many’ permits being reviewed to make issuing a particular handful problematic."

Vitter then reminded Salazar and Bromwhich that they are required by federal law and regulation to only make public information and data that is “accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased."

For more from Vitter on this issue, including the full text of his letter to Salazar and Bromwhich, go here.

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Mark Tapscott

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