Report: Offshore drilling review misleading

LOS ANGELES Following the gulf oil spill, President /*Barack Obama*/ called for a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling that expired in October.

According to the inspector general, the /*White House*/ edited the safety report to make it appear that scientists and other exports endorsed the ban.

Several of the scientists did not and the /*Interior Department*/ publicly clarified that at the time.

Academics, environmentalists and federal investigators say the administration downplayed scientific findings, misrepresenting data and misconstruing the opinions of experts.

However, the White House insisted in a statement issued Wednesday that the review was properly coordinated.

"Following a review that included interviews with peer review experts, the Inspector General found no intentional misrepresentation of their views...The decision to implement a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was correctly based on the need for adequate spill response, well containment and safety measures, and we stand behind that decision," White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said.

Meanwhile, the owner of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Transocean Ltd., says federal investigators are in danger of allowing the blowout preventer, a key piece of evidence, to corrode as it awaits forensic analysis.

About two months after it was raised from the ocean, testing had not begun as of last week, the company says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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