Thursday, February 12, 2009

Obama: Oil lease sale needed scrutiny

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday his administration's shelving of the oil and gas lease sale in Utah doesn't signal a permanent shift against drilling on federal lands in the nation's energy policy. But the president said he wanted to suspend recent decisions of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and scrutinize them before moving forward. "I think it is entirely appropriate for this administration to take a step back, push the pause button and review what's been with regard to leases on federal lands," Obama said in response to a question by The Salt Lake Tribune. "We had an administration that I think was heavily tilted towards opening up lands to commercial interests, was less concerned with environmental issues and sustainability issues. And I think for our Department of Interior to say, 'Let's just take a look at what benefits we're getting' and "Are we getting a fair deal, are we getting the kinds of royalties that would make sense?' There's nothing inappropriate." He said none of his decisions regarding drilling -- including setting aside a Bush-era plan for expanded offshore drilling -- have caused economic problems with the industry, and that the administration's ultimate decisions will take account of all parties, including industry and commercial interests...

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