Gov. Bill Ritter objected to prematurely move forward with commercial oil-shale development in Colorado.

September 24, 2008

GOV. RITTER SENDS LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH REGARDING OIL SHALE

 

Gov. Bill Ritter objected today to the White House’s latest efforts to prematurely move forward with commercial oil-shale development in Colorado. The President has blocked the continuation of a funding restriction on the issuance of commercial oil shale leasing regulations. The funding restriction expires Sept. 30.

 

“It is premature and irresponsible to lift the moratorium and move forward with regulations and leasing,” Gov. Ritter wrote in a letter to President Bush and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. “I urge you and your administration to partner with states like Colorado. Work with us, not against us, and together we can meet this nation’s energy needs and craft a responsible energy future for America.” 

 

The complete text of the letter follows:

  

September 24, 2008

 

The Honorable George W. Bush

President

Washington, D.C.

 

The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne

Secretary, U.S. Department of Interior

1849 C Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20240

 

Dear Mr. President and Secretary Kempthorne,

 

The State of Colorado has been steadfast in its support for restrictions on the promulgation of federal regulations that would establish a commercial oil shale leasing program prior to completion of research, development, and demonstration projects, and I am disappointed by your efforts to jettison that restriction in the continuing resolution. 

 

I recognize the challenges we as a country face due to rising energy costs, rising demand and dwindling supplies of traditional energy resources. We, as a nation, must develop reliable, long-term sustainable domestic energy resources and a comprehensive national energy strategy.

 

While I congratulate Congress for moving forward with energy legislation, and while Colorado will continue to do its part in the form of domestic drilling and creating a New Energy Economy, I remain steadfastly opposed to lifting the current oil-shale moratorium.

 

Oil-shale development is years away. It is difficult if not impossible to set appropriate royalty rates to ensure a fair return to the state and federal treasuries. Too many questions remain unanswered about impacts to the environment, the economy and our communities.

 

Without answers to those and other important questions, without a completed RD&D process and without proven technologies, it is premature and irresponsible to lift the moratorium and move forward with regulations and leasing.

 

Once again, I urge you and your administration to partner with states like Colorado. Work with us, not against us, and together we can meet this nation’s energy needs and craft a responsible energy future for America. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Bill Ritter, Jr.

Governor

 

United States Senate

 

United States House of Representatives

 

 

 

 

Sen. Salazar, Cong. Salazar, Cong. Udall:  “Bush Administration Runs Roughshod over Colorado on Oil Shale”

 

Washington, DC – The fight to establish an orderly process for the development of oil shale suffered a setback today, as the White House was successful in its effort to block an extension of the limited funding limitation on the issuance of commercial oil shale leasing regulations, which expires on September 30.  The White House has stated its intent to rush ahead with the issuance of final regulations for the development of oil shale, despite having no idea how much water would be required to develop oil shale, how much power would be needed, or whether the technologies are even commercially viable.  The White House had threatened to shut down the federal government unless the moratorium on finalizing commercial oil shale regulations was lifted. 

 

The following is the joint statement of Sen. Salazar, Cong. Salazar, and Cong. Udall.

 

“The White House is evidently willing to go to all extremes to trample on the will of Western communities.   They were threatening to shut down the entire federal government – at a moment when our economy is in crisis – over two issues:  offshore drilling and oil shale development.  We support the responsible development of our oil and gas resources at home – Colorado alone is home to more than 34,000 gas wells - and we support comprehensive energy solutions that include the expansion of 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 White House’s approach is foolhardy and their ‘my way or the highway’ tactics deplorable.

 

“We have fought hard to extend the current funding limitation, which prevents the issuance of commercial oil shale leases, because we need to continue with an orderly process that allows necessary research and development to be completed first.  Our first choice for the coming year was to extend that moratorium and continue to protect the R&D programs we helped create.  We were open to a second alternative, proposed by Congressman Matheson, that would allow states to opt in to commercial oil shale leasing.  This would have allowed the State of Colorado to determine the future of oil shale development within its borders.  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. 

 

“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 eleventh hour schemes of an outgoing Administration.” 

 

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