The Bush administration's damn-the-torpedoes energy plan is meeting with increased resistance in the West, not just from environmentalists and sportsmen, but also from within GOP ranks. USA Today
reports on moves by Republicans, including Montana Senator Conrad Burns and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to put the brakes on breakneck development of public lands
Since a 2001 government task force recommended expanding domestic oil and gas production, the Bush administration has pushed federal agencies to expedite drilling on federal lands in the West. Drilling permits approved on federal land jumped from 3,540 in fiscal 2002 to 7,018 in fiscal 2005, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
"In a sense the administration made this happen ... by pushing so hard," says Peter Aengst, who works on energy issues from the Bozeman, Mont., office of the Wilderness Society. "People are saying I don't want to see that happen everywhere."