Earlier this week the Bush administration announced another parting gift for Big Oil in the form of new oil shale regulations. What America, and the world, really needs is investment in clean energy solutions -- like plug-in cars -- that will reduce our dependence on oil. Instead, the Bush administration has chosen to invest taxpayer subsidies in a dirty fuel with production operations that would destroy wildlife habitat, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and suck up limited water resources. About two million acres of public land are at stake -- land that belongs to all Americans.
Last month I wrote about our concerns with the draft regulations. Now the regulations have been finalized, and our concerns remain unchanged. The administration issued regulations for an industry that won't exist for at least a decade or more, providing favorable royalty rates that give oil shale production a better deal than conventional oil and gas, even though oil shale presents greater global warming impacts. It's impossible for a government agency to write appropriate regulations for an industry that doesn't exist, using technologies that are as yet undetermined, with the full extent of environmental and other impacts unknown. This is the kind of thing that makes people distrust their government. More information is available in NRDC's press statement.