COLUMN-Obama’s Sphinx-like energy policy: John Kemp

John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own

By John Kemp

LONDON Feb 15 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s policy on energy and climate change remains inscrutable, full of strategic ambiguity, which probably suits him just fine.

The soaring rhetoric in his State of the Union address – “for the sake of children and our future we must do more to combat climate change” – masks a more complicated, some would say pragmatic, approach to the role of clean technology and fossil fuels in meeting future energy demands while curbing greenhouse gases.

Other Countries Harvest Their Oil Shale While the US Works to Terminate its Program

 Editor’s Note: The US with oil shale reserves equal to the total of all oil reserves in the world, the US Government  works to terminate its program while other countries go full speed ahead

President Ilves opens the first new oil shale mine in 40 years

TALLINN – Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves opened on Thursday the Ojamaa oil shale mine in North East Estonia which is the first new oil shale mine opened in Estonia in 40 years, Eesti Paevaleht writes.

The Ojamaa oil shale mine belongs to the chemicals industry Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG). Its oil shale reserves are estimated at 58 million tons and operating period 15–17 years.

CRE Submits Oil Shale Protest

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness recently submitted a Protest to BLM on its Final Oil Shale PEIS.

BLM’s decision to revise oil shale decisions made in 2008 could have enormous impacts on domestic energy production.  Specifically, The Government Accountability Office states, “The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions.  This is an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.”[1]  Nevertheless, BLM is now planning to reduce the amount of federal land available for oil shale development by 75%, with a 90% reduction in Colorado.  BLM is seeking to effectively eliminate oil shale development in the United States without offering any compelling basis, except for a lawsuit[2] challenging BLM’s initial 2008 oil shale determinations.[3] 

Denver City Council approves controversial proclamation on oil shale (Denver Post)

From: Denver Post

Typically, Denver City Council proclamations are void of controversy, reserved to commending people for service or feel-good statements by the city’s lawmakers.

But on Monday, the council was divided over a proclamation that supports the “research-first” approach to oil-shale development proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that some in the industry vehemently oppose.

The council spent nearly an hour debating the proclamation, which is not a law and merely an official statement.

At the end, eight members voted in support, two against and two abstained — a rare division for a proclamation that normally gets unanimous approval.

Environmental groups protest BLM oil shale plan (Salt Lake Tribune)

From: Salt Lake Tribune

Environmental groups filed a protest this week of a Bureau of Land Management plan to allocate more than 800,000 acres in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming for oil shale and tar sands development.

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Grand Canyon Trust, Living Rivers and the Sierra Club sent the protest Monday to BLM protest coordinator Brenda Hudgens-Williams.

The proposal would make available nearly 700,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for research and development of oil shale, and about 130,000 acres in Utah for activities related to tar sands.

A news release about the protest said such development would release “intensive greenhouse gas emissions, hasten Colorado River drying, threaten wildlife and increase local and regional air pollution.”

US expects oil boom from oil shale extraction (Channel News Asia)

From: Channel News Asia

WASHINGTON: The United States is set to become the largest producer of crude oil by 2030, according to a recent forecast by the United Nations (UN).

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts the US will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia in production amid a boom in unconventional drilling.

In Colorado, and other western US states, oil shale is one of the resources that could help make the US a net energy exporter in the foreseeable future.

According to the oil industry, the rock found in Colorado’s Piceance Basin could hold the key to America’s energy future.

Garfield County to protest BLM oil shale decision


Editor’s Note:  The Editors  Note is an email to the author of the following article.
Mr. Stroud:
CRE congratulates    the Garfield County Commissioners on their insight in invoking the Information Quality Act to oppose BLM’s action to prohibit oil shale development.

 CRE was the initial proponent of Information Quality Act.

 CRE also has a major website devoted exclusively to the BLM Oil Shale Program and encourages  your readers to post their comments on the issue.

 CRE will also be filing a protest and will offer its assistance to the Garfield County Commissioners in encouraging a resource base which by  US Government estimates is one of the largest oil reserves in the world.

US limits oil-shale development in Rocky Mountains (Seattle PI)

From: Seattle PI

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The U.S. Department of the Interior scaled back a Bush administration plan Friday to lease Western range lands for development of oil shale and tar sands, the unconventional sources of oil found in pockets of the Rocky Mountains.

Federal officials said they were set to authorize 1,250 square miles of public land for commercial leasing in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. That’s a third of the range lands that President George W. Bush planned to offer, and the new administration said it was taking wilderness-quality lands off the table.

Groups protest tar sands, oil shale plans in Utah (Fox 13 – Salt Lake City)

From:  Fox 13 – Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY – Dozens of protesters gathered at the Bureau of Land Management Office in downtown Salt Lake City on Monday to voice their opposition to massive tar sands and oil shale plans in Utah.

The groups Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance say their protest is in response to a recent decision to lease nearly one million acres of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming public lands for tar sands and oil shale development.

Interior proposal would limit commercial oil shale development on federal lands (The Hill)

From: The Hill

The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation.

The move is sure to rankle Republicans, who say President Obama’s grip on fossil fuel drilling in federal lands is too tight.