Another Big Gift for Big Oil: Bush Administration Hands Out New Oil Shale Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC (November 17, 2008) – The Bush administration announced another parting gift for Big Oil today in the form of new oil shale regulations. The Department of Interior released new draft regulations for a commercial oil shale industry on 2 million acres of public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The leasing of land for oil shale has been heavily criticized by environmental groups due to concerns over significantly increased water usage, global warming emissions, and toxic waste.
Following are comments from Amy Mall, Senior Policy Analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“Cooking rocks and scorching the earth is not a solution to our energy crisis. This is just another government giveaway to Big Oil, which doesn’t make sense when we have better, cleaner energy sources available now. We need to invest in clean energy solutions -- like plug-in cars -- that will reduce our dependence on oil, not dirtier fuels that spoil public lands, hasten climate change and suck up limited water resources.
“How can the administration write regulations for an industry that does not exist yet, using unknown technologies? They can’t. This is just a giveaway to special interests that will leave states to clean up the mess.
“With concerns over energy prices and record oil profits, it's another slap in the face of the American taxpayer. Now is the time for us to change course by developing new, clean energy solutions that will reduce our dependence on oil, create new jobs, and cut global warming pollution.”
NRDC analysis confirms that a commercially viable oil shale industry would have enormous environmental impacts. Oil shale production is expected to emit four times more global warming pollution than production of conventional gasoline -- making it the dirtiest fuel on the planet. It could require as much water as almost 1.5 million people use in one year, a threat to an arid region that depends on every drop of water.