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Aug 4, 2011 10:23 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Vitter blocks Interior nominee over drilling

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is using his power as a senator to block an Obama administration nominee as a way to get the hundreds of oil and natural gas drilling leases extended in the Gulf of Mexico.
Vitter said Wednesday that he would block the nomination of Rebecca Wodder as the Interior Department's assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks. Vitter wants the department to extend "hundreds of Gulf of Mexico drilling leases" set to expire this year before he will lift his hold.
Previously, Vitter blocked the nominee to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the nomination of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's chief scientist over what he saw as the slow pace of approving drilling permits.

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