Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, has written President Bush that because of the Persian Gulf crisis, America should increase its oil production in areas made off-limits by environmentalists.

He said America is dependent on foreign oil, in part, because of "the misguided efforts of those extremists who, for the sake of endangered snail darters and not-so-endangered owls, have created a stranglehold on the development of our abundant natural resources."Hansen added, "In their efforts to micromanage Mother Nature, these extremists have placed our economy, our country and our way of life in jeopardy." So he called for a lift on bans against oil drilling and exploration in the outer continental shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Hansen said, "The president has called on oil-producing nations to increase their output to meet the shortfalls created by Iraqi aggression.

"Well, Mr. President, we are an oil- producing nation and should be working to increase our production instead of depending on the rest of the world to meet the demand for us."

Hansen also called for the development of alternative energy sources - including nuclear power. "The rest of the industrialized world increases its reliance on nuclear power while we can only increase our reliance on foreign oil."

Hansen also called for more conservation. "Obviously, the less we use, the less we import," he said. "We once again need to be mindful of where we set our thermostats, mindful of eliminating unnecessary driving and looking for opportunities to conserve energy and resources."