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Congress mulls oil shale options

Phillip Yates
pyates@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said it was too early to tell whether any oil shale legislation might be offered in the wake of the two major oil shale moves by the federal government on Monday.

“I don’t know what all of our options are going to be,” he said on Tuesday. “We are going to look at different possibilities as we move forward.”

On Monday, the BLM issued final commercial oil shale regulations and a Department of Interior official also signed a record of decision that opened up about 2 million acres in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah to oil shale development.

“The question of how much the Department of Interior has given away here is obviously something that will be looked at in the future,” Salazar said.

The BLM’s oil shale regulations call for a royalty rate of 5 percent for the first five years of commercial production. It will rise 1 percent each year until it reaches 12.5 percent, according to the BLM. Colorado will receive 49 percent of any revenues generated from oil shale development in the state.

Salazar said Congress may look at all the “options” about how to address the recently released oil shale regulations.

“I just want to make sure as we move forward with the possibility of developing oil shale, we are not going to run roughshod over Colorado’s land and water,” Salazar said.

Salazar, along with U.S. Sen.-elect Mark Udall, have been the most outspoken among Colorado’s congressional delegation about oil shale development on the Western Slope.

Both Udall and Salazar supported a moratorium that blocked the BLM from issuing oil shale regulations. However, that measure expired on Oct. 1.

“Mark supports responsible oil shale development that is commercially viable and doesn’t use massive amounts of Colorado’s precious water and electricity,” said Tara Trujillo, a spokeswoman for Udall, largely echoing Salazar’s position on the issue. “That is why he is pushing for oil shale research and technology to be fully developed so we can move forward on this issue.”

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117

pyates@postindependent.com

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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