State and local governments, Indian tribes, and citizens should be allowed the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding a resource use that ultimately will affect the air, water, and landscapes on which they rely. Nevertheless, Rep. Pombo’s sneak attack on the 2006 Budget Reconciliation Bill also included provisions that would have bypassed public scrutiny and environmental review in an effort to fast track development of oil shale and tar sands.
Exempting lease sales from detailed environmental and public review is the wrong way to approach a new and not yet sufficiently studied industry like oil shale development. Even Shell Oil Corporation has said that realistic development of oil shale is ten years off into the future. Fortunately, like Pombo’s other provisions, this one was dropped before final passage.
Since then, Earthjustice has sent the Department of Interior nearly 4,500 comments from our supporters on the proposed oil shale development under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The comments urged the Department to move forward cautiously and to evaluate the impacts of such development on our air, water and landscapes. We continue to work with other groups to make sure the conservation community’s voice is heard in this process.