Thursday, February 05, 2009

Salazar scraps plan to drill on federal land in Utah

Efforts continued this week to undo last-minute Bush Administration decisions, as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled oil and gas drilling leases on 77 parcels of federal land in Utah. "Salazar's decision -- which reverses the Bush administration's move to allow drilling on about 130,000 acres near pristine areas such as Nine Mile Canyon, Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument -- is one of a series of steps that the new administration and congressional Democrats are planning to reshape federal regulation of drilling, mining, lumbering and other resource-tapping activities, both on U.S. soil and offshore," reports Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post. (Read more)

"But the oil and gas industry warned that a policy shift could cost consumers more in the long run," writes Patty Henetz of The Salt Lake Tribune. Critics of the decision insist that it will lead to job losses, a decrease in government revenue and higher energy costs. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also blasted Salazar's decision. "The argument that these leases have been canceled to protect our national parks is a fairy tale conjured up to win public support for what is actually a very dangerous anti-oil agenda."(Read more)

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