Washington, D.C. – The Department of Interior issued draft rules today that would set the stage for oil shale leasing, but Congress is still standing in the way of any potential oil shale exploration.
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., has cosponsored legislation that would allow companies to explore the possibility of harnessing oil shale to help the U.S. become more energy independent.
"We have to find more oil as we use less energy. It's tough to harvest the energy from oil shale, but companies aren't even allowed to try because some in Congress have barred the door. It's unbelievable that there are so many legislators bent on preventing us from helping ourselves," said Enzi. "Increasing our American-made energy supply is serious business. It's not just a pain for people at the gas pump, high energy prices could wreck our way of life and we have to take steps to protect our country. Oil shale is just one way we could potentially do that. My fellow cosponsors of the legislation to allow oil shale development and I are leading the way rather than standing in the way."
The Bureau of Land Management is issuing proposed regulations, instead of final regulation, because Congress prohibited the use of funds to prepare or publish final regulations on oil shale as part of a Fiscal Year 2008 spending bill. The ban on these funds for oil shale production was one of the reasons Enzi voted against the spending bill last year.
The bill Enzi supports would repeal the moratorium on western oil shale exploration, opening up a potential 800 billion - 2 trillion barrels of oil. The bill, the Gas Price Reduction Act, S. 3202,was introduced last month and co-sponsored by 43 senators, including Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo.