Obama punts 11th-hour oil shale, park gun rules to Salazar

Environmentalists and unarmed national park enthusiasts got a bit of a reprieve Tuesday when the new Obama administration issued a memo halting further progress on a series of controversial midnight regulations pushed through in the waning days of a lame-duck Bush White House.

New West.net has the details on the last-minute rules that would have short-changed states on commercial oil shale royalties, de-listed the gray wolf as an endangered species and allowed loaded guns in national parks, among other measures:

Tuesday’s memo from Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel calls for a withdrawal of any regulation yet to be published, a ban on new regulations and a request that departments wait 60 days to implement any regulations that have been published and reopen public comment periods.

“It is important that President Obama’s appointees and designees have the opportunity to review and approve any new or pending regulations,” Emanuel wrote to federal departments and agencies.

Newly confirmed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has already signaled his opposition to the oil shale regulations in a Nov. 18 Colorado Energy News story:

Colorado’s governor and one of its senators jumped on the Bush administration late yesterday for what they called “reckless” and “flawed” new rules for commercial oil shale development.

National park visitors hoping for a peaceful stroll through natural wonders sans pistol-packing may not have a friend in Salazar. The proposed rule to roll back a Reagan-era ban on loaded guns in national parks was supported by then-Sen. Salazar before being tapped by Obama to lead the Interior Department.

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Wendy Norris

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