Bush admin proposes rules for domestic oil-shale development
The Bush administration today will propose rules for tapping the U.S.’s vast oil-shale deposits, estimated to hold up to 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Oil shale development is enormously expensive and spectacularly polluting, but the U.S. Department of the Interior is expected to frame the debate in terms of high fuel prices and domestic “energy security.” President Bush previewed the move in his let’s-go-drill-offshore speech last week, saying, “We should expand oil production by tapping into the extraordinary potential of oil shale.” Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s announcement Tuesday is likely to echo Bush’s speech by calling on Congress to lift the ban on developing oil shale in the U.S. West. Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar (D) last year inserted a provision into a spending bill that prohibits the feds from issuing final rules for commercial oil-shale development and thus also prohibits companies from tapping the vast deposits. But it won’t keep anyone from pandering.