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Page added on November 28, 2008

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U.S. Moves Ahead on Oil, Gas Leases on Public Land

Decision Could Pose Problem for Obama

A decision by federal officials this week to press ahead with a controversial sale of oil and gas leases in eastern Utah is stoking the debate over how to balance the nation’s needs for fossil fuels against concerns over the environmental impact on iconic national parks and other sensitive areas.

The Bush administration, which has sought to reduce American dependence on imports to meet the continuing demand for oil and gas, has aggressively pushed to open up energy exploration across broad swaths of the West, off both coasts, and in Alaska. But those initiatives regularly stir opposition from both environmentalists and advocates of faster development of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power.

… In the latest skirmish, the bureau announced Tuesday that it will proceed with most of a proposed sale of oil and gas leases on nearly 500 square miles of public land in eastern Utah, which had sparked protests from environmental advocates and National Park Service officials. Opponents fear the drilling activity will damage air quality in several nearby popular national parks.

Washington Post

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