Home > newsroom > Page
Obama Administration American Energy Roadblocks Part 7: Oil Shale


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 2, 2012 -

Oil shale is one of the most promising new sources of American-made energy. 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. 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.

But instead of promoting new technologies and the responsible development of this abundant resource, the Obama Administration has repeatedly delayed and hindered U.S. oil shale production.

  • A month after taking office, the Obama Administration delayed the new round of oil shale research, demonstration, and development (RD&D) leases that would help advance American technology and create high-tech jobs in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

  • In October 2009, the Interior Department announced a new round of RD&D leases that included significant changes to the program.

    • The new program decreased lease acreage by 87 percent, demanded unrealistic timelines for investment into cutting edge research, included unattainable production requirements, and implemented variable royalty rates.

    • As a result, only three companies applied for this latest round of RD&D leases.

  • In 2011, the Interior Department announced plans to review the current rules for oil shale leasing, imposing further delays. The current rules were adopted under a rigorous and open public rule making progress. The Obama Administration’s review was a redundant step that halted progress on the development of our oil shale resources and created more uncertainties for American job-creators interested in investing in this new technology.

    • Dan Whitney, Heavy Oil Development Manager for Shell Exploration and Production Company, testified at a Committee field hearing in Colorado that the “lack of policy and regulatory consistency from one administration to another makes the investment climate even more risky and potentially untenable.” Continuing to stress the need for consistent public policy, Mr. Whitney said, “there are already adequate checks and balances provided in existing regulatory programs,” and that reviewing current rules is an “inefficient and unnecessary use of taxpayer money and is a significant deterrent to capital investment.”

  • In 2012, the Interior Department announced a draft Bureau of Land Management plan to close over a million acres of public land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to oil shale development.

  • To learn more about how the Obama Administration has blocked, delayed and hindered American energy production, visit /roadblocks

    Part 1: Offshore Drilling
    Part 2: Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands
    Part 3: War on Coal
    Part 4: Alaska
    Part 5: Onshore Oil & Natural Gas
    Part 6: Renewable Energy

    ###

    Printable PDF of this document


    Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

    Latest News

    Panel Reviews Bipartisan Bill to Create Federal Land Inventory

    Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on H.R. 2199 (Rep Cramer, R-ND), the “Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform Act of 2017” or the “FLAIR Act.” The federal government ow...... Read more

    Panel Urges Passage of Locally Supported Land Bills to Promote Economic Development and Conservation

    Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on two bills to promote economic development, improve conservation and address targeted federal land management challenges. H.R. 242...... Read more

    Interior Official: Land Consolidation Program Failing Native Americans, Taxpayers

    Today, the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs held a hearing on the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Cobell Land Consolidation Program. The program authorizes DOI to purchase ...... Read more

    View All News

    Calendar

    Oversight Hearing Examining Impacts of Federal Natural Resources Laws Gone Astray
    Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
    Legislative Hearing on Discussion Draft of the Community Reclamation Partnerships Act
    Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
    View All Events