Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interior Dept. withdraws Bush-era oil-shale leases

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has withdrawn oil shale leases in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, saying his department "would first study the water, power and land-use issues that complicate one of the nation's most abundant but controversial untapped sources of energy," report Jim Tankersley and Nicholas Riccardi of the Los Angeles Times.

Salazar, a former Colorado senator, is seeking comments for 90 days, beginning tomorrow, when a notice in the Federal Register will ask "industry, local communities, states and stakeholders for their advice on the terms and conditions that should be included in the second round of leases," reports the Denver Business Journal. Salazar maintains that the previous leases drawn up during the final days of the Bush administration were riddled with flaws, including "locking in low royalty rates that would shortchange taxpayers," the Business Journal reports.

"Those who have fantasized that oil shale is a panacea for America's energy needs have been living in a fantasy land," Salazar said. The Times noted, "The move marked the third time in a month that the Obama administration has frozen late-term Bush decisions that sought to spur domestic energy development over objections from environmentalists." (Read more)

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