State Petroleum Association objects to settlement

Salt Lake City, UT – The Petroleum Association of Wyoming complains a Department of Interior move will restrict the state's oil and gas industry.

The Interior is halting fast-track approvals for drilling across the Rocky Mountains in a legal settlement reached in Salt Lake City.

Conservationist groups challenged the Bush administration's interpretation of a law that allows federal land managers in some cases to issue fast-track drilling permits without a full environmental review.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Pinedale, Wyo. issued more than 1,200 such permits over the past three years.

Cheryl Sorenson of the Petroleum Association says the quicker permitting expedited what otherwise can be a "painfully slow" process.

One conservation group involved in the suit says the decision means a "thoughtful approach to development."