The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Drew Bush, 202/429-7441,
Chase Huntley, 202/429-7431,

Bush Administration Issues Premature Oil Shale EIS

Rush to Score Political Points Places Americans, Lands in Harm’s Way


Statement by Wilderness Society Energy Policy Advisor Chase Huntley on the U.S. Department of the Interior's Publishing of a final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for commercial oil shale development:

"The Bush administration has moved forward on its plan for commercial oil shale development without any clear understanding of the impacts on local communities, the environment, or the region's economy. The administration and their boosters in Congress are pushing the promise of oil shale in the hope of scoring political points by leading Americans to believe it will lower today's high energy prices. It will not. Putting politics ahead of responsible governance could cause more harm than good.

"In fact, this reckless hurtle toward oil shale development puts thousands of residents of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming at risk of an economic catastrophe not seen since the Black Sunday collapse of the Colony Oil Shale project in 1982. This move also promises significant and potentially devastating environmental consequences for nearly two million acres of Western public lands.

"Responsible stewardship of these public resources requires the Bureau of Land Management to ensure that industry has viable technology to commercially harvest oil shale before proceeding toward commercial leasing. But technologies to melt oil from rock efficiently, cost-effectively, and safely do not exist anywhere in the world.

"Americans want real energy solutions, not an unproven promise. Discussion of oil shale is just a distraction from effective clean energy policies such as increased energy efficiency measures and investment in renewable technologies. We should not sacrifice quality of life of local residents of these states on the alter of eleventh-hour politics."

Find out quick facts on oil shale here.

Find other fact sheets on oil shale here.

Read what the Denver Post and The Salt Lake Tribune had to say about oil shale.

Since 1935, The Wilderness Society has led the conservation movement in wilderness protection, writing and passing the landmark Wilderness Act and winning lasting protection for 107 million acres of Wilderness, including 56 million acres of spectacular lands in Alaska, eight million acres of fragile desert lands in California and millions more throughout the nation.