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Agency opens probe into gas, oil drilling

Agency opens probe into gas, oil drilling

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A congressional watchdog agency is investigating the Bureau of Land Management's approval of oil and gas wells without rigorous environmental reviews.

The Government Accountability Office will visit BLM offices that make the most use of so-called categorical exclusions, which allow drilling without a full-blown environmental impact statement.

President Bush and Congress authorized the use of the exclusions as part of the 2005 Energy Act.

The GAO says it just got to work about two weeks ago and doesn't know when it will finish the investigation.

The GAO got the request from the House Natural Resources Committee and its Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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