Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security (PIONEERS) Act (H.R. 3408)
Status: Passed the House on February 16, 2012 with a bipartisan vote of 237 to 187 and was laid upon the table.

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 16, 2012 -
  • The PIONEERS Act will create new American jobs by setting clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources and promoting shale technology research and development.
  • According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. holds more than half of the world’s oil shale resources. The largest known deposits of oil shale are located in a 16,000-square mile area in the Green River formation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
  • The USGS estimates show the region may hold more than 1.5 trillion barrels of oil – six times Saudi Arabia’s proven resources, and enough to provide the United States with energy for the next 200 years.
  • Since taking office the Obama Administration has repeatedly hindered oil shale development, preventing the production of this new energy resource and blocking the creation of thousands of American jobs. This bill will provide greater certainty to U.S. job-creators and encourage them to invest in new technology.
  • Specifically, the PIONEERS Act will:
    • Direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue additional Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D) leases within 180 days after enactment of bids published on January 15, 2009.

    • Direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue at least 5 separate commercial lease sales by January 1, 2016.

    • Make permanent the Resource Management Plan amendments and commercial oil shale regulations published guidelines by the Department in November 2008 and apply them to all commercial leasing for the management of federally owned oil shale. This will provide regulatory certainty to oil and natural gas producers for commercial development.

    • Give the Secretary of the Interior the ability to temporarily reduce royalties and fees paid by oil producers in order to further incentivize and encourage energy development.

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