Bush administration cancels plans to drill in Rocky Mountain Front

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it will suspend plans to drill for oil and gas in Montana’s beloved Rocky Mountain Front pending a comprehensive study of the area — a study that will not begin until 2007 and will last at least two years, taking the ultimate decision out of Bush’s hands, even if he’s reelected. For months, the administration has been under fire from the hook and bullet crowd, traditionally conservative members of hunting, fishing, and wildlife-conservation groups, many of whom — tres coincident! — live in Western swing states. “We listen when they talk to us,” said Assistant Interior Secretary Rebecca W. Watson, who made the announcement. Some residents of the area were disappointed, as they welcomed the alleged economic stimulus of oil and gas exploration, but the decision was hailed by enviros, the aforementioned hookers and bulleters, and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has long pushed for permanent protection for the front.