"Interior Chief Slams Oil and Gas Groups' 'Election-Year Politics'"

"Firing back at recent industry charges that the Obama administration is not promoting domestic energy development, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced that his department has scheduled 38 onshore oil and gas lease sales for 2010.

'We believe that our oil and gas leasing program is robust, but it is also a program we have brought back into balance,' Salazar said in a call with reporters. 'But you wouldn't know it if you listened to the untruths coming out of' oil and gas industry groups.

Salazar said repeated attacks have 'all the flavor and deception of election-year politics' and that oil and gas companies need to understand that they do not own the public lands; taxpayers do. He added that companies' shareholders do not want industry trade groups to behave like an arm of a political party and said companies should choose a better path, to engage constructively and honestly with federal agencies.

Salazar also said too many federal leases get tied up in protest and litigation, which costs taxpayers and companies money, and that Interior is undertaking a comprehensive review of onshore programs to make them more efficient and more rational."

Noelle Straub reports for Greenwire in the New York Times November 24, 2009.

Source: Greenwire, 11/25/2009