The Bush withdrawal from only means that Federal Agency can start process which needs years of environmental study as required by National Environmental Policy Act and has to pass the test of Endanger Species Acts.
Just recently Federal Court in Anchorage found the government's environmental analysis violated federal environmental laws and decided to strike down the Interior Department's leasing plan for the area around the internationally significant wildlife habitat around Teshekpuk Lake in the Northeast Planning Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska (NPRA). The decision prohibits the BLM from proceeding with a planned sale of oil and gas leases on more than 400,000 acres around the Teshekpuk Lake.
Any proposal to drill in Bristol Bay will also violate Endanger Species Acts!
Since 9-Circuit Appeal Court , which has the jurisdiction over Alaska, is very pro-environmental, it is unlikely that oil lobby will prevail to twist environmental law.
With Democrats in charge of the congress, the congressional ban will most likely be restore soon.
The congressional protection of Bristol Bay was lifted by Republicans as a part of Interior Department appropriation bill, which canít be veto, in 2003. The same way Democrats (Momost likely) will restore the ban soon, specially that many prominent Republicans, now inminority, in US Senate and Congress also oppose the drilling in pristine places like Arctic Refuge ( McCain).
Finally, before any rig will be placed in Bristol Bay, Bush will be long gone from the White House ( Yes!!!!) and the next president most likely will reinstate the ban, although
the congressional ban or court decision down the road, will do a job.
Very large amount of oil has been found recently in the Gulf of Mexico, significantly exceeding Alaska resources.
Still, the blind oilman, influenced by his master Dick and oil lobbyist present in every branch of the Federal Government will try to make one stupid decision after another.
Luckily, the climate in Washington has changed dramatically.