Yet now, with the moratorium lifted a month earlier than expected, Landrieu is continuing to block Lew's nomination. Why? Her office issued a press release urging the administration to
develop "an action plan to get the entire industry in the Gulf of Mexico back to work" and to "continue to accelerate the granting of permits in shallow and deep water, and provide greater certainty about the rules and regulations industry must meet." Today's Salazar announcement heralded the completion of new regulations for offshore oil and gas operations; Landrieu's office did not respond to questions about where the uncertainty lay within these regulations.
Landrieu intends to continue her hold until the lame duck session, giving her "several weeks to evaluate if today's lifting of the moratorium is actually putting people back to work." It seems Landrieu has discovered what kind of power can come with opposing the White House on such an important nomination (normally, the White House budget director would be getting a head start on the next year's budget while Congress is out of session), and she is not eager to give it up.
The Interior Department declined to comment on Landrieu's continued hold on Lew. In a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called Landrieu's stance on Lew "unwarranted" and "outrageous."
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