CBS' White House correspondent Jim Axelrod issued the warning about changes in environmental regulations in the waning days of the Bush Administration in October. The story largely failed to catch on, only being kept alive by celebrity wattage as NBC's Lisa Myers covered movie star Robert Redford's concerns about the Utah wilderness in November. Now CBS returns with another Redford soundbite: "Once this land is destroyed it is gone…It belongs to us not to them." The "them" happens to be George Bush and Dick Cheney, who Redford accuses by name for the government's decision to sell off exploration rights to red rock public lands surrounding Arches National Park on Friday. "Conservation groups call it a last-minute Christmas present from the Bush Administration to the oil and gas industry," Wyatt Andrews reported. The administration countered that the auction "has been in the works for seven years and is not a last minute effort."
By the way, it was not only Redford's celebrity that made this story work on television. The red rock landscapes are as photogenic as the Sundance Kid was in his prime.
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