President Obama Closes Western Lands To Oil Shale Development

I’ll give President Obama his due. He wasted no time in implementing some of his energy policy. In spite of the rhetoric he has used about increasing drilling leases on federal lands, we knew he wasn’t serious about making it easier for American oil companies to use new lands for possible development. This is what we get for re-electing a President who has such a focus on promoting green energy. He seems to believe that the harder he makes it for oil companies to retrieve the natural resources in America, the easier it will be for green energy companies to make their products viable for use. The Interior Department has announced they will be closing federal lands that were previously slated to be open for oil shale development. I was first alerted to this by America’s Watchtower.

(The Hill) The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally Obama's Energy Visionslated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation.

The move is sure to rankle Republicans, who say President Obama’s grip on fossil fuel drilling in federal lands is too tight.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. Among other things, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that conflicted with sage grouse habitats.

Under the plan, 677,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming would be open for oil shale exploration. Another 130,000 acres in Utah would be set aside for tar sands production.

The administration and Democrats said that while the plan would curtail what was originally sought for oil shale development, it still opens up a significant amount of land that was previously unavailable for the energy production method.

It should come as no surprise that the reasons given for closing this land to oil shale development are environmental concerns. Make no mistake, I want to see our environment protected and I have no desire to see a single sage grouse displaced, but does there not come a time when our energy requirements need to take precedent? In every case I have seen of federal lands being shut down for energy development, it has been environmental concerns that have been the culprit. This strengthens my believe that federal lands within the borders of any state should be given back to that state. Doing so would remove federal jurisdiction from places it should not be present in the first place.

Does anyone want to place a bet on how long it will be before the Keystone Pipeline is completely buried by the Obama administration? I’m thinking it won’t be long before any hope we had of it being approved is taken completely away. That’s what we get for re-electing a President who has a special hatred of oil companies.

The image I found on AfterMath says it all. President Obama has tunnel vision, when it comes to what America’s energy policy should be. I agree with Obama that we need to explore alternative energies. I’m not sure pond scum should be included, but you get the idea. Alternative energy sources are fine, if they work. Throwing money down the rat hole of green energy companies is not the way to pursue energy independence. Shutting down federal lands to oil shale development isn’t going to achieve energy independence. If President Obama was really serious about what he calls an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy, he would abandon his efforts to demonize oil companies and cutting them off from federal lands. If he was really serious, he would give control of those federal lands back to the states, to which the ultimately belong, and he would focus on finding sources of alternative energy that have a chance of working. Giving federally backed loans to his campaign donors and watching their companies go bankrupt isn’t going to work.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 2012 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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4 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://alwaysonwatch3.blogspot.com/ Always On Watch

    Often, whoever is sitting in the Oval Office doesn’t have a direct effect on our lives and on our household economies.

    This time is different.

    From the moment that I knew of Obama’s re-election, I had two major concerns:

    1. The coming rise in real estate taxes as the Obama EPA’s agenda directly affects the local level. Those “environmental improvements” will cost big bucks, and taxpayers’ will have to foot the bills.

    2. The cost of energy, particularly the cost of heating this house, which has an oil furnace as does much of the Northeast. It will cost me at least $10,000 to convert to natural gas! And there is a possibility that the county will say, “No can do! Demolish the structure, then convert,” because the electrical system doesn’t conform to county code (Never mind that two electricians have pronounced this house safe) and the size of the house is quite small, thus yielding fewer tax dollars to the county government (Tax amounts are based on square footage). Then, what? I’ll be forced to sell at bottom dollar to a developer who make money hand over fist at the expense of what I was counting on for my retirement. I should have become a government bureaucrat instead of living by my conservative principles, I guess.

  • Gary Jackson

    Well that didn’t take long.

  • http://conservativesonfire.wordpress.com Jim at Conservatives on Fire

    he is going to keep his promise, Larry. Under his plan , electricity and energy prices must skyrocket. The EPA has much more in mind for us.
    http://www.qando.net/?p=14245

    We can expect to see Cap and Trade implemented through the bureaucratic back door.
    This is just the beginning, my friend. It is going to get a whole lot worse!

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  • http://www.charlesmphipps.com Charles Phipps

    I don’t believe he truly is interested in green energy. The green companies he gave our tax dollars to were nothing but shams to funnel money to his supporters and launder the money back into his own reelection fund. There’s a huge scandal there if the media had done their job. But we all know that won’t happen to anyone with a D after their name.

  • http://www.stevenbirnspeaks.com steven birn

    Even in his victory speech he talked about energy independence. Obama didn’t waste a week before limiting our ability at achieving it. This is what happens when Republicans nominate moderates.

  • Steve Dennis

    Thanks for the link Larry. Obama’s plan is simple; because green energy technology is not there yet and is expensive because of this Barack Obama has decided to make green energy more competitive by making traditional energy costs higher.

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  • Petro and Nat Gas Engineer

    The only thing we should all be grateful for Larry Jackson’s writing here is that he brought the issue of Oil Shale in the US Rockies to our attention. Other than that, Mr. Jackson’s writing here is misleading. The real issues, the non-sage grouse issues that Larry made no mention of are; scarce water supplies, and unproven “OIL” Shale Extraction technology. It is possible to employ hydraulic fracturing to many shale resource plays when the hydrocarbons are gas, natural gas liquids and high gravity oil. However, immature shale hydrocarbons like those in question here are currently impossible to extract with this technology. Removing Oil from these shale will require lots of heat in the form of subsurface steam injection, and lots of water to produce that steam. Water availability being the biggest issue in these areas. Unfortunately today, shale gas is a hot button subject in many areas. Mostly due to a lack of understanding how this process works. Oil Shale is a totally different subject.

    Jackson’s comments about Keystone XL pipeline are also misleading. Jackson is taking up the talking points of so many of anti-Obama crowd. Obama didn’t block development of the Keystone XL pipeline as they would like us all to believe. The pipeline will succeed, and it is moving forward. Keystone sponsors expect Obama administration to approved the northern leg, from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska next year. The only thing the administration did was to send them back to route the pipeline around the Sandhills aquifer. Meanwhile, they are going ahead with the southern portion. Obama has not only endorsed the southern portion, he has ordered expedition of the permits.

    Finally, it is easy to totally ignore this after reading ridiculous comments like “Obama has a special hatred of oil companies”. Get real. Who could possibly know this even if he did, which I believe he doesn’t? That is an opinion.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      Explain to me exactly how I am misleading by writing what I have written. Point of fact, President Obama has not expedited the upper portion of the Keystone pipeline. At every turn, he has slowed the process down. Exactly what good is the southern portion of the pipeline if the northern portion isn’t being built?

      As for the production methods used to extract the oil from the shale, I am not familiar with those. However, that does not take away from the fact that President Obama has closed the lands. At every turn, he has hindered the process of exploration and drilling for new sources of oil. That, along with the fact that he continually advocates stopping tax breaks for oil and gas companies, tax breaks that every other company has access to, leads me to have a fairly firm belief that he does hate oil and gas companies. Yes, that is an opinion, my opinion, and I hold it strongly.