The Obama administration is taking a hard look at how best to revise federal procedures for oil and gas leasing on public lands. The Bush administration created policies to help its oil and gas friends and make industrial development the primary use of public lands throughout the West. The results were air pollution, water contamination, and destruction of wildlife habitat.
We welcome efforts by Secretary Salazar to restore balance to public land management and protect all of the values that are important to Americans. It's no surprise that the industry, facing a loss of special favors, is already criticizing Secretary Salazar before his proposals have even been announced. Mr. Salazar had it right last week when he said that oil and gas companies do not own the public lands; the American people do.
Secretary Salazar has a big job. Not only does he have to clean up the mess from his predecessors, but he is helping to forge a cleaner energy future based on renewable energy like wind and solar. Is he changing the rules? We hope so because we need a major course correction in America's energy future. We look forward to seeing his proposals.