Kempthorne to Testify on Gulf Oil Leases


In the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, questions remain: Who, if anyone, was asleep at the wheel? Who, in a position of authority, oversaw the licensing, operations, and safeguards?

Today (Tuesday), a Joint Congressional Subcommittee hearing begins that investigation. And one of the witnesses in the hot seat will be Dirk Kempthorne.

Kempthorne served as Secretary of Interior under President George W. Bush. That followed a full political career, which included serving as Idaho's Governor, U.S. Senator and Mayor of Boise. But it was his time at Interior from 2006-2009, that is of greatest interest to Congressional leaders. It was in 2008 that Kempthorne presided over Lease Sale 206 with a price tag of $3.77 billion, which was, at the time, the most lucrative sale of its kind in U.S. history, and included the sale of the Macondo Well, the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling ring that exploded last April, leading to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Kempthorne; his predecessor at Interior, Gale Norton; and his successor, current Secretary Ken Salazar, will be sworn in this morning before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on Capitol Hill.