WASHINGTON – Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) claimed victory today in his year-long battle to lift the moratorium on oil shale.

The Senate today passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government into next year. The CR specifically lifted a moratorium on the commercial leasing regulations for oil shale – a moratorium Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) put in an omnibus spending bill more than a year ago.

“This ends the artificial moratorium on oil shale development on federal lands,” Hatch said. “There is ten times more recoverable oil in oil shale than is available in off-shore drilling. Today’s action was a signal victory against the anti-oil extremists and their Democratic allies in the Senate.”

Hatch was also pleased that the Senate extended the life of his CLEAR Act, which provides incentives for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles. The Senate did the same for the senator’s FREEDOM Act, which promotes plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

“These were major laws aimed at reducing our dependence on foreign oil. And I am pleased to be the author of both of them, “ Hatch said. “But I can’t ignore the fact that 97 percent of our transportation sector relies on oil, and nothing will change that in the short- or mid-term future. Our nation will need oil into the foreseeable future, and oil shale has the potential to provide our citizens a domestic source of affordable energy for the next 100 years.”

The Intermountain West holds up to 2 trillion barrels of recoverable oil – more than the world’s combined proven reserves. Seventy-two percent of the world’s oil shale is in the United States, and 73 percent of that is on federal lands. For most of the past century, the government has not made this gigantic resource available for development. Today’s action opens this resource once again for development.