WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) made the following statement today regarding the decision by congressional Democrats to allow the moratoria on oil shale regulations and offshore drilling to expire:
"Today's news is a victory for common sense and a breakthrough in energy development for Utah and our nation," said Bennett. "Three months ago, my Senate Republican colleagues and I introduced the Gas Price Reduction Act and I am pleased that congressional Democrats have adopted the main provisions of our bill to help combat our energy crisis. Americans have spoken loud and clear that we need to find more American energy today so we don't face a similar energy crisis in the future; this decision puts us closer to answering their calls."
Oil shale on Western lands is estimated to hold the equivalent of at least 800 billion barrels of oil. The lifting of the moratorium allows the Department of the Interior to finalize the regulations for issuing commercial leases on oil shale development, which were released in draft form in July.
The federal law banning offshore exploration has been in place since 1981. In July, President Bush lifted the executive ban on offshore exploration in the outer continental shelf that had been in place since 1990. Today's decision lifts the congressional ban on offshore exploration in the outer continental shelf