Watching Government: Increasing access

Congress is expected to resume negotiations on a sweeping energy bill this month. On the table are well-publicized items of interest to industry. These include a House proposal to lease a limited portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and a Senate clean fuels plan to dramatically boost fuel ethanol demand. But many other priorities don't need Congress's blessing. Among President George W. Bush's directives in a May 2001 energy blueprint is better access to energy-rich public land.Bush officials said then that, since the federal government owns about 31% of the nation's land, it's reasonable for the Department of the Interior to play a major role in bo...

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