CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - The Obama administration didn't violate federal law when it incorrectly asserted that its plans for a six-month halt to offshore oil drilling had been "peer reviewed" by experts, an independent watchdog agency reported Wednesday.
The erroneous claim was included in a report issued a month into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and stemmed from a White House edit of an Interior Department draft, according to the report Wednesday from the department inspector-general's office. A panel of scientists and engineers did examine new safety recommendations for offshore oil drilling following the undersea gusher in April, but did not study the planned drilling moratorium that was announced in late May, the report found.
In June, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar apologized for the error both in writing and in person to scientists who complained about the language, the report states. Investigators found the problem occurred when White House officials "revised and re-ordered" the report before its issuance, "placing the peer review language immediately following the moratorium recommendation."
"This caused the distinction between the secretary's moratorium recommendation - which had not been peer-reviewed - and the safety recommendations contained in the 30-Day Report - which had been peer reviewed - to become effectively lost," the report states.
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