With less than a week left in office, the Bush administration announced Wednesday that new and bigger oil-shale leases would be offered in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
Several companies have expressed interest in applying, said Matt Spangler, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Land Management, though he declined to identify them.
The announcement was decried by environmentalists who called it a last-ditch attempt by the outgoing president to influence energy policy for years to come.
"This an eleventh-hour effort by the Bush administration to issue pocket commercial oil-shale leases before leaving office," said Chase Huntley, energy policy adviser for The Wilderness Society.
Companies have 45 days to submit applications -- that would appear to place the decision on whether to issue the leases with the Obama administration and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar if he is confirmed as secretary of interior.
Salazar has ...