Tue February 15, 2011

Interior Department to Revisit 2008 Oil Shale Rules

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his department will be taking a “fresh look” at controversial 2008 rules regulating the development of oil shale.

The largely untapped resource is highly concentrated in western states like Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. But so far companies haven’t figured out a process for extracting the deposits. In a move that angered many environmentalists, the Bush administration opened up 2 million acres in federal lands for possible development and issued rules on things like royalty rates. Secretary Ken Salazar says that was putting the “cart before the horse.”

“Fortunately with commercial development of oil shale several years away, we have the opportunity now to look for ways to improve the 2008 regulations and plans for commercial development,” he said Tuesday during a conference call.

The Interior Department will be seeking public input on the 2008 rules in the coming months. Salazar says his announcement won’t impact the handful of existing development leases that have been issued.

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