The Denver Post: Lamborn oil shale bill sails through the House
The Denver Post
By Allison Sherry
Rep. Doug Lamborn’s proposal to open up 125,000 acres of public land to oil shale development passed the full U.S. House of Representatives Thursday.
Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, introduced the PIONEERs Act because he says the Obama administration has slowed oil and gas exploration in public lands. The bill passed 237 to 187 and 20 Democrats voted yes, though none from Colorado.
(Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, tried to strike Lamborn’s bill yesterday but that amendment failed late last night.)
Lamborn’s bill was earlier packaged with a couple of other pieces of legislation as pathways to fund the transportation bill, but the non-partisan CBO said oil shale is not yet developed and Lamborn’s legislation has zero revenue value.
Lamborn believes it’s important anyway. He said a few weeks ago that it was a "great step forward" in finding more sources of domestic energy.
The Colorado Springs’ congressman’s efforts have irked leaders in western Colorado, who say it’s a bad piece of legislation because the royalty formulas are set far too low for local governments to support the infrastructure required to find new sources of energy.
The final vote was decried by environmental groups, who say oil shale has not shown enough promise to deserve more acreage of public lands.
"Oil shale will not fund a single road or bridge repair," said Matt Garrington, Colorado-based Deputy Director of the Checks and Balances Project. "I’m afraid the Speaker and Rep. Lamborn have sold Congress on a plan that will actually increase the national deficit. Oil shale is a failed resource which will generate zero revenues, and Americans will have to pay the price."
Though successful in the House, the proposed law is unlikely to get air in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.