Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Environmentalists out of the loop on new oil, gas wells
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

WASHINGTON - In an aggressive push by the Bush administration to open more public land to oil and gas production, the Interior Department has quit conducting environmental reviews and seeking comment from local residents every time drilling companies propose new wells.

Field officials have been told to begin looking at issuing permits based on past studies of an entire project, even though some of those assessments may be outdated. The instructions are in a directive from the department's Bureau of Land Management expected to cover hundreds of anticipated new drilling applications.

President Bush and Congress authorized the streamlining as part of a 1,724-page energy bill signed into law in August. BLM officials, saying the need for energy supplies is immediate, showed unusual speed implementing it. Kathleen Clarke, the agency's director, sent out the new guidance Sept. 30.

''Yes, it is a priority of the White House,'' BLM Deputy Director Jim Hughes said in an interview. ''We are moving expeditiously to implement the law. We think all these items will increase the supply this winter. However, everyone is saying it won't be enough to wipe out the impact of the hurricanes and all that.''

The energy bill created new ''categorical exclusions'' under the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act for allowing new oil, gas and geothermal wells without first conducting environmental studies or soliciting public comment on them.

Article Tools

 Print Friendly
 
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.