"SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Department of the Interior scaled back a Bush administration plan Friday to lease Western range lands for development of oil shale and tar sands, the unconventional sources of oil found in pockets of the Rocky Mountains."
"Federal officials said they were set to authorize 1,250 square miles of public land for commercial leasing in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. That's a third of the range lands that President George W. Bush planned to offer, and the new administration said it was taking wilderness-quality lands off the table.
On paper, the Rocky Mountain oil shale deposits could yield a great abundance of oil -- more than 1 trillion barrels -- but environmental groups say it would involve ripping up public lands and depleting scarce sources of water. Political leaders in Arizona and Nevada and farmers worry about a diversion of Colorado River water. Big-game hunters oppose the intrusion of mining. Thousands of pages of comments have been filed on the plans."