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Watt proposes leasing all US offshore waters

Interior Secretary James Watt, brushing aside broad-based criticism, has unveiled a proposed five-year plan to offer nearly all federal offshore waters for oil and gas leasing.

"We have made some modifications to the proposal," he said. "Basically, however, the plan stays as it is."

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He said, "We took it into account and dismissed" objections from governors, environmental groups, and many oil companies that the plan is too sweeping and far-reaching."

Watt shrugged off a National Wildlife Federation call for his ouster. Scoffing at a survey showing that the country's largest environmental group's 4. 5 million, mostly conservative members overwhelmingly reject his pro-development policies, he said the wording of the questions was such that he, too, would reject th em.