Natural Gas in the Rockies

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The Denver Post is reporting the Bush administration will focus on streamlining environmental approvals to speed up development of natural gas in the Rockies. The move comes amid warnings of a natural gas shortage nationwide.

Administration officials have formed a group called the Rocky Mountain Energy Council to work on reducing delays in development and production. The council will hold its first meeting Tuesday in Denver. The group is looking at the area dubbed the ``Persian Gulf of natural gas.''

The states involved are Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Environmental groups fear the administration will use the council as a vehicle to run roughshod over rules protecting public lands.