Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eastern Utah counties call on Obama to free up more oil shale land

Eastern Utah counties are so steamed about federal plans to pull back hundreds of thousands of acres from potential oil-shale leasing that they’re banding with their Wyoming and Colorado neighbors to demand the Obama administration reverse course.

The Uintah County Commission passed a resolution last week calling on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to keep vast parts of the Uintah Basin open to shale leasing. 

The BLM has proposed curtailing the leasing zone for oil shale and tar sands, first approved at the end of the Bush administration, from about 2.3 million acres to 553,000 acres until companies prove a technology to extract oil from rock is feasible.

"[T]he rising price of gasoline, coupled with ever-increasing loss of good-paying jobs due to the administration’s policies against energy development on Western lands," the resolution states, "result[s] in increasing hardships for families and the local economy."

Opponents of wide-scale leasing say the resolution is littered with inaccuracies, starting with the statements that "development and production of oil from oil shale has been proven beyond a doubt to be technologically and economically feasible" and that "it requires little to no water."  The Salt Lake Tribune