The government is watching money stampede away, with little idea what to do about it.
The cost of an Interior Department program to care for America's wild horses has doubled in the past four years: from $40 million in 2009 to $80 million in 2013. And until a long-term solution can be found, the spending is only going to increase.
Wind and solar developers have filed hundreds of proposals for projects on federal property in a renewable energy land rush that started with passage of the 2005 energy law, though only a relative few have been approved.
In a new report issued Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office said 416 applications have been filed with the Bureau of Land Management for utility-scale projects since the law's passage. Of those, 350 were for solar development on lands in Arizona, California and Nevada.
One of the biggest areas of contention between the oil industry and the Obama administration involves the length of time needed to win approval for drilling on public lands.
The two sides can't even agree on who is responsible for approval times. While Bureau of Land Management's statistics show it reviews completed applications as fast or faster than under the Bush administration, industry officials say those numbers are misleading. And they note that the total time to go through the process is still seven months or more.
The new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is pressuring the Obama administration to develop "sound" regulation of hydraulic fracturing at wells drilled on public lands.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar he wants the department to issue a proposal that ensures public health and environmental protection. He said residents of communities near drilling "must have confidence that the water they drink and the air they breathe will be free of harmful pollutants."
RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is issuing new policy directives emphasizing "compassion and concern" for wild horses on federal lands in the West, in response to a growing public outcry over alleged abuse during roundups of thousands of mustangs in recent years.
The Bureau of Land Management announced plans to perform a new analysis on the environmental impact of oil and gas drilling on the Roan Plateau in Colorado after a judge faulted the agency for not following procedure in its first approval, The Associated Press reports.
The Interior Department will re-draft its rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, a spokesman said Friday.
The revised draft from the Bureau of Land Management will seek to "maximize flexibility, facilitate coordination with state practices and ensure that operators on public lands implement best practices," department spokesman Blake Androff said.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., pledged to push a vote to complete the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility in Nevada if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., moves to limit filibusters, Roll Call reports.