Last week, the United States Bureau of Land Management announced the federal agency's plans to implement oil shale and tar sands legislation sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch. The legislation was included in the comprehensive energy law enacted last summer.
"The BLM is moving quickly to start tapping into Utah's vast oil resources," pointed out the senator. "The recent spike in gas prices is a clear sign that we need to increase domestic oil production."
"We have more oil in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming than in all the Middle East and the tar sands operations in Canada have demonstrated that it's very economical to develop these resources. We need to access the vast resources we have in the West and we need to do it soon," continued Hatch.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, recoverable oil shale in the western United States exceeds one trillion barrels. In addition, the resource represents the richest and most geographically concentrated oil shale and tar sands resource in the world.
To begin accessing the resources, the BLM intends to implement a programmatic environmental impact statement for oil shale and tar sands leasing activities on federal lands in the West.
The EIS will amend existing resource management plans in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming to provide increased oil shale and tar sands leasing activities in the states.
The BLM schedule a series of public meetings beginning in Salt Lake City on Jan. 11, 2006.