September 20, 2012

A Poster Child for Regulation by Litigation Run Amok: The BLM Oil Shale Program

Do you want to have a major impact on US energy policy?  Simply have an NGO,  acting in the “public interest”,  sue the USG government  and obtain a settlement which is not subject to the procedural safeguards of the Administrative Procedure Act  nor OMB review under Executive Order 12886.

CRE finds it  incomprehensible that oil shale offers the United States the potential to extract over 1.5 trillion barrels of oil, an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves, yet BLM has drastically shifted its policy position to one  which will prohibit the development of this vital resource.. This is especially troubling in that the 2008 PEIS BLM specifically outlined two additional steps of environmental analysis that would need to be completed before any oil could be commercially extracted.  CRE recommends the following

  1. BLM adopt the No Action Alternative in the 2012 PEIS.
  2. BLM consult with the Department of Energy (DOE) as required by the Department of Energy Organization Act and does not issue the Final PEIS until DOE has commented on the Draft PEIS.

CRE is troubled by the fact that the Department of Energy is a “no show” in this important policy decision.  OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs should correct the absence of such an important player. CRE is also concerned that the root of this deprecation in established public policy is the result of an extreme case of “regulation-by-litigation” as detailed in the following White Paper.

CRE has conducted an extensive review of the comments sent to BLM on its proposal. CRE’s detailed analysis is contained in the following report, A “Hard Look” at the Environmental NGO Coalition’s Comments on the Oil Shale PEIS.  We invite your particular attention to the multi-stage permitting process described on page 7 which is required before any oil is extracted. We believe these safeguards are more than adequate to address the concerns expressed by a number of   participants in the planning process.

CRE provides the public with the opportunity to comment on all of its submissions to federal agencies; to this end we invite the public to visit the Interactive Public Docket (IPD) titled BLM Oil Shale located at  and offer their comments.


The CRE letter to BLM is attached below.

Evaluation of NGO Oil Shale Comments

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