Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s first major decision — to cancel oil and gas leases on 77 parcels of public land in Utah — could not have sent a clearer signal that his department is under new management. It also was a strong indication that the Obama administration intends to take a more measured approach to energy exploration on the public lands and that its predecessor’s drill-now, drill-anywhere policies are a thing of the past.
… Industry is complaining that any change in the Bush-Cheney approach would damage its ability to develop domestic energy supplies. This is nonsense. For one thing, industry has yet to explore large areas to which it already has access, onshore and off. All Mr. Salazar wants is balance and restraint, and after years of hyperactive leasing, this is not too much to ask.