Lawsuits Aim to Slow Oil Shale Development

Oil shale at Mount Garfield, Colorado. Photo by Doc Searles.

Two law suits filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado would put the brakes on Bush-era regulations and land management plans to fast-track development of oil shale, a dirty fossil fuel that threatens water resources, communities and wildlife in the West. Oil shale development would also contribute to climate change.

One suit alleges that the Bureau of Land Management under the Bush administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it drafted regulations for a commercial oil shale program without, by their own admission, having sufficient information on the environmental impacts. The suits also charge that the BLM broke the law by amending 10 management plans in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to allow oil shale and tar sands development on more than two million acres of land without giving the public a chance to administratively appeal, or “protest,” the decision.

Senior Energy Policy Advisor, Dave Alberswerth, commented on the suits, saying:

“Bush’s BLM shortchanged the people of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, putting politics ahead of good governance. Unfortunately, proposing this fuel whose time may never come as national energy policy perpetrates a cruel hoax on Americans suffering due to hard economic times. We can’t even harvest oil from shale and, even if we could, the environmental consequences would be disastrous.

photo: Oil shale at Mount Garfield, Colorado. Photo by Doc Searles.