The 2005 Energy Policy Act
The Third Time Is the Charm (Right?)
Today, a volatile international oil market, a recent bout of sticker shock at the gas pump, and growing recognition that dwindling oil reserves will struggle to meet the world's future energy demands have combined to once again pique interest in the rock that burns. And once again, the federal government is stimulating that interest.
In 2003, as oil prices began to climb, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiated an oil shale development program in conjunction with President George W. Bush's National Energy Policy, soliciting applications for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) leases. The 2005 Energy Policy Act (PL 109-58), section 369 (PDF), further encouraged the development of oil shale resources as part of a comprehensive approach to meeting the growing national energy demand by requiring the Department of the Interior to issue commercial oil shale leases by 2008. Although some research is also under way on privately owned claims, the RD&D and commercial leasing programs, which proceed along entirely separate tracks, account for the most significant activity in Shale Country today.