Senate rejects economic stimulus bill with oil shale moratorium

The US Senate defeated an economic stimulus bill with a provision to extend a moratorium on federal oil shale leasing by 52 to 42 votes on Sept. 26.

Sep 26th, 2008

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 26 -- The US Senate defeated an economic stimulus bill with a provision to extend a moratorium on federal oil shale leasing by 52 to 42 votes on Sept. 26. The measure fell 8 votes short of the 60 votes necessary for passage.

It was not immediately clear whether Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) would try to insert the provision into another bill before Congress recesses.

Republicans were pleased with the outcome. "This Democrat-controlled 'do nothing and drill noting' Congress is out of touch with the people that put them in office. Earlier this week, we saw the largest single-day jump in oil prices in history. How do Democrats in Congress react? They attempt to extend the ill-conceived Udall moratorium on oil shale regulations. This places over 800 billion bbl of potentially recoverable oil out of reach; that's an energy source larger than the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia," said Sen. Wayne Allard (Colo.), who is retiring in January.

Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who is running to succeed Allard, and two other Democrats on Colorado's congressional delegation, Sen. Ken Salazar and Rep. John Salazar, said on Sept. 24 that they would try to reinstate the moratorium when Congress comes back to work.

"The Democrat-controlled Congress is completely ignoring the needs of our nation. This is not only unfortunate but also insulting to the American people who are struggling to pay these high fuel prices. This attempt is a clear sign that they would rather help the economy of foreign oil producers. Had this misguided moratorium continued, it would have helped [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez stimulate his economy more than our own," Allard maintained.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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