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

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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.

œThe 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.


œWe 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. 


œWhen 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.