Dept of Interior Cancels Bush Administration Oil Shale Leasing Plans

oil shale colorado photo

There's oil in them thar hills, but it'll be environmentally ruinous to get it... photo: Doc Searls via flickr

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar may think that oil shale has great potential but at least he's scrapping plans put in place by the Bush Administration to lease additional lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for more development of the carbon nightmare fuel. The reason the leases were rescinded? It's not about the environment and all about the royalties:Money Received From Leases Far Lower Than Conventional Oil
Salazar called the leases "flawed" because the 5% royalty rate paid for oil shale production on those lands "sells the taxpayers short". Normally the royalty rate paid by oil and natural gas companies for producing on public lands is 18.8%.

Presumably the lower royalty rate would be place to make oil shale production more financial attractive and more of the unconventional source of fuel could be produced. While the US does undoubtedly have a lot of oil shale, too bad its carbon emissions are eight times worse than gasoline. Not to mention water pollution...

Second Bush Plan Scrapped by Salazar
The NRDC hailed the move, saying that "this is an important step forward in protecting American's western lands from oil shale development, which is nothing more than a dirty, expensive pipedream. Secretary Salazar has again made clear that's he's committed to doing business differently at the Department of the Interior."

For those not following closely Salazar's first month on the job, the "again made clear" referred to there is in reference to the Secretary's halting of oil and natural gas development leases on public lands in Utah, also put in place in the last days of the Bush Administration.

But Obama Admin. Should Come Out Against All Oil Shale Development
I wouldn't be so quick to jump to Salazar's praise just yet. While not wanting to pour cold water on the move, I'm not yet convinced that either Salazar or the Obama Administration has really gotten the message that allowing any development of oil shale, or not condemning its cousin, tar sands is simply environmentally crazy.

via: International Herald Tribune
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