George W. Bush, 8/21/2003
We want initiatives where the federal government works closely with the state government, with community groups, conservation groups, local people, in order to do what is right for our country and our states.Energy dispute over Rockies riches
The conflict between oil and water interests has now come to a head. On Oct. 31, Congress allowed a moratorium on oil shale leasing to expire. That paved the way for the Bush administration to finalize leasing rules last month that opened 2 million acres of federal land to exploration. [...]Faceless Washington bureaucrats showering money on unproven technologies that could drain the Colorado River basin. Sounds like an ideal opportunity for western Democrats to remind ranchers that not all environmental regulations are bad.
Though the region's elected officials support efforts to discover new sources of domestic oil, they say that with so many unanswered water questions, public land managers should be slowing the pace of development, not speeding it up.