Environmentalists welcome oil, gas leasing reforms | VailDaily.com

Environmentalists welcome oil, gas leasing reforms

DENVER – Several environmental groups in Colorado and Wyoming are praising the Interior Department’s onshore oil and gas leasing reforms as long overdue.

The announcement Monday comes as the federal agency deals with questions about regulation of offshore drilling in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Environmentalists in the Rockies criticized the Bush administration for what they say was a rush to lease public lands in the region during the recent natural gas boom. Mike Chiropolos of the Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates calls the reforms “an injection of good government.”

However, an industry group panned the changes. The Denver-based Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States says they will delay development of clean-burning natural gas.

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