NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 20, 2007

The House of Representatives recently adopted an omnibus appropriations bill that prohibits funding for oil shale commercial regulations.  Without these regulations, commercial production of oil shale is impossible, says Nick Loris, Research Assistant at The Heritage Foundation.

At risk is a potentially enormous source of energy:

  • Dr. Daniel Fine of the MIT reported that 750 billion barrels worth of oil shale have been discovered in Colorado alone.
  • An estimated 1.2 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil is available in the Green River Formation, an area which expands through most of Colorado and parts of Utah and Wyoming.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management, a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

Unfortunately, without regulations in place, these lands will not be able to be leased and/or developed for exploration of oil shale production.  The technology to collect and refine oil shale is developing at a rapid pace, and private companies are willing to invest in it.  But the omnibus in its current form does nothing to help the efforts, and will only put another viable, domestic source of energy off limits.

Source: Nick Loris, "Omnibus Prohibits Oil Shale Development," WebMemo #1754, Heritage Foundation, December 18, 2007.


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