The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has got a blueprint for implementing the Bush administration’s energy plan, and it involves speeding up approval for petitions to drill for oil and gas, creating easier access to petroleum deposits, reducing royalty payments by industry to the government, and easing environmental restrictions. All that, without harming the environment, BLM Assistant Director Peter Culp announced yesterday. But one former head of the BLM, Jim Baca, begged to differ: “I’ve never seen such an assault on public lands,” he said. Ninety percent of BLM lands are already open to energy exploration, and a number of the existing drilling projects on such lands do not comply with environmental regulations.
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