Thursday, September 25, 2008
Big Win for Republicans, Bigger Win for the American People (Potentially)
The end of the congressional moratorium on commercial development of oil-shale is a big win for Republicans who have made this a talking point during this election cycle, and a bigger win for Americans who want a common sense approach to energy production and development of natural resources in the United States.
A congressional moratorium blocking commercial oil- shale development expires Monday, and the Bush administration is moving quickly to script how future exploration will occur.
The Bureau of Land Management plans to issue final regulations by year’s end that will set out factors including what royalty rate companies will pay to lease federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
Advocates of removing the ban, along with a ban on offshore oil drilling, rejoiced and declared Monday “American Energy Freedom Day.”
“It was a mistake to put the moratorium in last year, and it would be a mistake to keep it in this year,” said Republican Sen. Wayne Allard of Loveland. “The common-sense approach to ensuring Colorado’s economic future and our nation’s energy independence dictates that we safely, cleanly and efficiently explore and develop our resources.”
No one pretends that either this or expanded off shore drilling will fill all of America’s energy needs in the future, but a rational approach, to me, is a mixed approach that leverages new technologies and techniques to power our economy with everything from natural gas and clean(er) coal to oil shale and petroleum to wind and solar. And throwing in a series of nuclear power plants wouldn’t hurt my feelings, either.
The funny thing is that for this to happen, all it took was for congress to sit back and fail to act. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere…
Hopefully the restrictions and lease terms put in place by the BLM won’t make it impossible for development on these new resources.