President Bush's energy advisers won't recommend drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, EPA chief Christie Whitman said Sunday. She said the controversial proposal won't be part of a report due next month from an energy task force led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
Whitman was one of a handful of cabinet members that hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit yesterday, which was also the 31st Earth Day. That proposal and other Bush administration environmental positions have come under heavy fire from environmentalists.
Whitman said the plan to explore for oil in the Alaskan wilderness faces heavy opposition from Congress, which would have to authorize such a move.
However, Interior Secretary Gale Norton told CNN that plans to open the Arctic wilderness to exploration were still on the table. Norton said Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, "still believes that it is something that we should push forward with."
Norton also said the administration was also considering opening lands to gas and oil drilling that President Clinton had designated as national monuments.
"It's still something that we think ought to be explored as part of the way that we balance our environmental issues and our energy issues," she said.