Three towns in western Colorado are urging the BLM to take a conservative approach to oil shale, placing them at odds with county commissioners who want to leave nearly 2 million acres in Shale Country open for oil shale development. The towns of Rifle, New Castle and Carbondale endorsed Alternative 3 in the 2012 draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS), which limits oil shale leasing to the less than 30,000 acres that are already leased.
The city council of Rifle asked the BLM to “carefully analyze the potential socio-economic impacts of large-scale development before issuing any further leases,” according to the Rifle Citizen Telegram. This is a slightly different than the council’s position last year when they wanted to limit oil shale leases to the preexisting lease areas. Rifle now feels that this position was too restrictive and have instead urged the BLM to move slowly with oil shale leasing, at first only granting research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) leases and then analyzing the impact of commercial leasing upon cities and the environment.
If the companies on these leases are able to prove their technology as economically and environmentally sufficient, more land would become available for commercial leasing under Alternative 3.
Read more about the towns’ positions after the break