WASHINGTON — For the second time in recent weeks, the Bush Administration put off issuing an interagency agreement Friday aimed at more clearly establishing guidelines for protecting wetlands, prompting criticism from environmentalists.
The Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement that it was approving a 15-day extension for further discussions over the final wording of an agreement between the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Last month a decision was postponed for 30 days.
The memorandum of agreement has been the subject of weeks of discussions within the Administration after members of Alaska's congressional delegation complained to the White House that it threatens oil and gas development in the state.
The EPA and Corps of Engineers tentatively agreed last November on the memorandum, which outlines specific actions and procedures a developer must take in a wetland area, including actions to mitigate environmental damages to the wetlands and a requirement for compensation, possibly by developing other wetlands, if mitigation is inadequate.