July 22, 2008
Brian Kennedy (202) 434-8200

IER Applauds Announcement of Oil Shale Leasing Rules

70 days until Congressional moratorium on oil shale leasing expires


Washington, DC – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) today issued the following statement applauding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to issue draft rules for the commercial leasing of federal lands to produce America’s massive oil shale energy resources:

"Energy is the lifeblood of our economy, and the U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of oil shale,” said Daniel Kish, IER’s senior vice president for policy.  “The United States has more oil shale than the entire Middle East has crude, but we lack the governmental framework to lease those lands so the resource can be produced for our consumers.  If politicians in Washington are looking for a way to revitalize our economy, they should look no further than oil shale.”
“Oil shale could change the global energy landscape permanently, and put the United States back in control of its future economic and national security,” Kish continued.  “With these regulations, Americans who are fed up with high-priced foreign energy will be able to express their opinions about whether this country should be using its largest-in-the-world shale supplies.  We urge all American consumers to let their opinions be known during the ensuing 60-day comment period.  Finalizing these regulations will secure unprecedented investments in abundant and affordable supplies of energy right here at home.” 

Oil Shale Supplies
The United States has over 2 trillion barrels of oil shale, which is twice as much as the entire world has consumed in 150 years since oil was discovered.  Experts believe 800 billion barrels are recoverable, which could fuel our nation for more than 100 years.  It is 3 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia has.
According to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE): “Once developed, U.S. oil shale resources will be similar in extent and energy potential to Alberta’s tar sand reserves. When oil shale and tar sands are considered together, the United States and Canada will be able to claim the largest oil reserves in the world.”
Legislative History of Oil Shale Leasing Rules
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (sections 369(d) and (e)) established oil shale production as a national goal by directing the Department of the Interior to issue final regulations for the commercial leasing and production of government oil shale lands.  Without this, oil shale owned by taxpayers will never begin reducing foreign imported oil.
However, in 2007, Congress adopted a rider that prohibited the Department of Interior from completing the task it was assigned in 2005. Consequently, the United States is still without a program to bring this massive resource to market for American consumers.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit public foundation that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.  Founded in 1989, IER is funded entirely by tax deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. No financial support is sought for or accepted from government (taxpayers).



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