Colorado congressional Democrats vow to restore oil shale moratorium

Three Democrats on Colorado's congressional delegation vowed on Sept. 24 to restore a federal oil shale leasing moratorium which was deleted from a continuing resolution to keep the government operating through March 6, 2009.

Oct 3rd, 2008

Three Democrats on Colorado's congressional delegation vowed on Sept. 24 to restore a federal oil shale leasing moratorium which was deleted from a continuing resolution to keep the government operating through March 6, 2009.

US Sen. Ken Salazar and Reps. John Salazar and Mark Udall said that they support responsible development of domestic oil and gas resources (noting that Colorado has more than 34,000 natural gas wells) and comprehensive energy solutions which include expanded offshore development.

"However, it is clear that the Bush administration is clueless about the realities of oil shale development. By rushing ahead toward commercial leasing, they are putting at risk the very objective we hope to achieve, responsible oil shale development, by heightening the chance of another devastating bust," the three federal lawmakers said in a joint statement.

They said that they fought to extend the funding limitation, which they inserted in the US Department of the Interior's fiscal 2008 budget in December 2007, because it would allow research and develop on oil shale development's community, economic, social and environmental impacts to be completed first.

The three federal lawmakers from Colorado said that they then supported a proposal by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), which would have allowed states which favor development of federal oil shale resources within their borders to opt in to commercial leasing. This would have allowed Colorado to determine the future of oil shale development within its borders, they said.

"Neither of these options was sufficient for a White House that, in its waning days in office, is hell bent on running roughshod over Colorado and the West," their joint statement continued.

"When Congress reconvenes in January, we will fight to restore an orderly process for oil shale development so that Colorado's land, water and communities are protected. We continue to believe that Western wisdom, gained from our century of work to develop oil shale, offers a far better chance of getting us to our goal of responsible commercial oil shale development than the 11th hour schemes of an outgoing administration," they said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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