Inhofe Blasts Senate Democrats Reversal on Oil Shale Moratorium

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today blasted the Democrats' attempt to reinstate the moratorium on oil shale development as included in a Democratic "stimulus" bill. The Motion to Proceed to S. 3604 failed.

"It's astonishing that the Democratic Majority would bring forward legislation that they call a "stimulus" bill with a provision that would reinstate a one-year delay in lifting the ban on oil shale development." Senator Inhofe said. "It should now be absolutely clear to the American public that the Democrats reversal on offshore drilling this week was nothing more than an election year ploy designed to mask their opposition to increasing American energy production. With skyrocketing energy costs we need to consider all sources of energy - from oil and natural gas exploration, to shale exploration in the West, to alternatives. We need it all.

"The potential energy development from the Rocky Mountain oil shales is truly massive. The Green River Formation located within Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah contains the equivalent of 6 trillion barrels of oil. Of this 6 trillion, the Rand Corporation estimates up to 1.1 trillion recoverable barrels. That equals more than 2000 years worth of imports from Saudi Arabia or 145 years of domestic supply at current rates of oil consumption. These numbers would nearly double assuming the Department of Energy's estimate of nearly 2 trillion potentially-recoverable barrels. The Rand corporation projects that within the first 12 years of commercial production, these barrels would be recoverable at prices as low as $35 to $48 per barrel of oil.

"At a time when the nation is struggling to reduce reliance on foreign oil and find more American energy, this is absolutely the wrong policy to pursue."