A Fresh Look at Federal Oil Shale and Tar Sands Policy
In February 2011, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his agency would take a fresh look at the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) 2008 decision to open more than 2 million acres of western public lands to experimental oil shale and tar sands development.
In a letter dated May 13, 2001, WRA and 12 other conservation organizations filed comments with the BLM making the case for the BLM proceeding cautiously before opening public lands to potential commercial development. Based on the BLM's analysis to date, it is clear that commercial development of oil shale and tar sands would irreparably harm local lives and livelihoods. Development would also compromise a wide range of environmental values, including clean air, clean water, climate, recreation, water supply, and wildlife habitat. For these reasons, we strongly applaud the Secretary's decision to take a fresh look at the 2008 decision and to consider alternatives not previously evaluated.
Instead of spending public resources to develop these deposits, our country needs to focus its resources on supporting energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy sources that are known to protect the environment and are economically sound. Building a new energy economy is central to the long-term economic, social and environmental health of our nation, and oil shale and tar sands run counter to these goals.
Comments submitted to the BLM by WRA and other conservation partners on May 13, 2011:
- Scoping Comments on Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resources Programmatic EIS (410KB .pdf file)
- Complete set of 15 attachments supporting the comments (23.4MB .pdf file)
- Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Shale and Tar Sands Geospatial Analysis, June 2010 (8.8MB .pdf file)
- Center for Native Ecosystems ACEC nomination (includes map), March 2007 (294KB .pdf file)
- Eric Molvar, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, white paper on Greater sage-grouse, May 2011 (69KB .pdf file)
- SV Wiig (BLM), June 13, 2006, email; Erik Molvar notes from conversation with Wiig (193KB .pdf file)
- Wyoming State Geological Survey 25/25 threshold analysis maps (726KB .pdf file)
- Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative, "Recommended Best Management Practices for Plants of Concern," April 2009(439KB .pdf file)
- Brandt, Boak and Burnham, "Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Oil shale Derived Fuels," draft, 2009 (439KB .pdf file)
- Adobe Town MLP recommendation - includes mineral ownership map (1.8MB .pdf file)
- Dinosaur Lowlands MLP recommendation - includes mineral ownership map (2.1MB .pdf file)
- Eastern Book Cliffs Piceance Basin MLP recommendation - includes mineral ownership map (2.1 MB .pdf file)
- Shale Ridges and Canyons, Colorado MLP recommendation - includes mineral ownership map (2.1MB .pdf file)
- Little Mountain, WY map (6.25 MB .pdf file)