Conservation groups have challenged a new BLM plan for oil shale leasing.
Groups say feds ignored climate impacts in environmental studies for plan
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Framed in the context of growing concern about global warming, the Center for Biological Diversity this week formally protested the latest scaled-back plan for oil shale and tar sands research and development in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The Grand Canyon Trust, Living Rivers and the Sierra Club also joined in the protest, claiming the plan could unleash intensive greenhouse gas emissions, hasten the dry-up of the Colorado River, threaten wildlife and increase local and regional air pollution.
The protest is part of the formal BLM review and approval process, similar to an appeal of a U.S. Forest Service decision. The conservation groups claim that the BLM violated numerous provisions of various federal environmental laws and planning rules.
The BLM plan released last month calls for careful leasing of about 806,000 acres of public land where energy companies can try to solve the puzzle of in-situ development of oil shale. The 2012 plan resulted from the settlement of a 2009 lawsuit that challenged a previous version approved under the Bush administration that was criticized by conservation groups as a give-away to the energy industry.
Some advocates of careful oil shale research say the 2012 plan cut too much land, making it more difficult for energy companies to pursue oil shale development.
“Putting restrictions on the land doesn’t make a lot of sense to me … it would be better to let the companies decided what the best place is to operate,” said Colorado School of Mines professor Jeremy Boak, who specializes in oil shale research. “The restrictions seem extreme. Ninety percent of the land that has oil shale was taken out of play,” he said. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, global warming, oil shale | Tagged: BLM, Bureau of Land management, Center for Biological Diversity, Colorado, energy, Environment, oil shale, Sierra Club | 1 Comment »