Nudging Obama

Formerly "Obama Watch" Keeping the promise of change

Obama Administration Continues Oil Shale Leasing in Colorado, Utah

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Obama Fuels a Future of Fossil Fuel Addiction

On October 1, 2008 a long-standing ban on the commercial development of oil shale on federal lands expired. That means America is now on the edge of an abyss, about to take the plunge into an endless fossil future. The steady march toward this awful future of extended oil addiction is a fact hidden in plain view. President Obama continues that March.

It is a march being aided and abetted by half a billion dollars of oil and coal lobby money, by the recent votes of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and by a media more lap dog than watchdog. Though unintended, even all the campaign talk about a clean energy economy is serving to obscure this clear and present danger.

Oil shale is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels known to man. Its extraction releases two to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional crude oil, and uses vast amounts of water. In Western lands where oil shale deposits are abundant, water is already in scarce supply.

The oil industry has now secured rights to federal lands where the oil shale is. Without firing a shot, they purchased the regime at home. Then they pulled the wool over America’s eyes, using the most effective propaganda tools money can buy from the public relations industry. While hollering about offshore oil, they uttered precious little about oil shale itself, and absolutely nothing about how its oil is extracted. So when the ban on offshore oil drilling expired, no one noticed that the ban on oil shale development expired, too.

So Congress has now allowed the door to swing open to “develop” almost two million acres of oil shale deposits. It has granted permission to the oil industry to initiate a cube-by-cube boiling of the earth itself, the consumption of every last drop of water in the Colorado basin and the unconscionable acceleration of global warming pollution.

This diabolical outcome — worthy of a cackling criminal mastermind in a James Bond thriller — has been in the making since early in the Bush-Cheney administration’s first term. An overt federal program for oil shale development emerged into public view in the Energy Act of 2005 — in Section 369 — which required the Department of the Interior to develop a commercial leasing program for oil shale. The Department is about to issue a final development plan.

Since Congress has dutifully provided the kicker by allowing the oil shale moratorium to expire, the leasing plan can now move forward. The administration’s simultaneous orchestration of these two final oil policy movements is the culmination of years of effort, a chilling parting legacy.

If you’ve ever been to Utah, Colorado or Wyoming, you know how spectacularly beautiful those states are.  Now imagine ten new, polluting, coal-fired power plants in those states just to developoil shale, the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet.  For the sake of our future and the environment, our nation needs to move in the direction of clean energy.  Tell the Bureau of Land Management to protect our air, water, land and wildlife by going slow on unproven, dirty oil shale development.

Don Hazen
Don Hazen
Executive Editor, AlterNet.org

from AlterNet and The Wilderness Society

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Written by bearmarketnews

May 12, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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