"Dirk Kempthorne’s arrival in Washington as secretary of the interior raised hope among conservationists that he would moderate the Bush administration’s aggressive search for oil and gas in some of the country’s most environmentally sensitive lands. This has not happened. The Bureau of Land Management, which issues drilling leases and permits, seems to moving as recklessly as it did under Mr. Kempthorne’s predecessor, Gale Norton, and even the administration’s natural allies have finally had enough.
Last Friday, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership sued the Interior Department to protest the recent authorization of 2,000 new oil and gas wells, along with 1,000 miles of roads and another 1,000 miles of pipeline in a wildlife-rich area of south-central Wyoming known as the Atlantic Rim. The suit accuses the bureau of multiple violations of federal law, including the requirement that it fully assess less destructive alternatives. It also notes that the bureau itself conceded that under its plan the “natural setting would be converted to an industrialized setting” with severe adverse impacts on mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope.
What drove the partnership over the edge and into court was the sheer one-sidedness of the administration’s approach, as well as its reckless disregard for the law, and if that does not get Mr. Kempthorne’s attention, nothing will."
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Editorial: Losing Patience
(The New York Times 8/21)
U.S. Department of the Interior - http://www.doi.gov