Colorado Governor Will Do Flip Flop Tomorrow In Washington, D.C. On
Ritter's Opposition to Oil Shale Commercialization Contradicts Earlier
Statements of Support
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, despite strong public rhetoric in support
of strengthening American energy security here at home, is scheduled
to reverse course tomorrow from earlier public statements in support
of development of oil shale, a resource in the Western U.S. known to
have at least three times greater recoverable oil than the proven
reserves in Saudi Arabia.
"If we go forward with oil shale, it could be the best commercial
development in the history of the state of Colorado," Ritter told CNBC
on April 7 during a tour of Canadian oil sands in Fort McMurray,
"Energy security is also about national security," he said. "It was
helpful to me to see the oil sands – to understand that we have these
rich deposits of oil ... it increases the stability for us as a
However, in an apparent flip-flop scheduled for tomorrow in
Washington, D.C., Ritter will testify Thursday before the U.S. Senate
Energy and Natural Resources Committee against U.S. efforts to
commercially develop its own oil shale deposits.
"Bill Ritter is basically saying, 'It's OK if Canada provides us with
oil, but don't ask Colorado to help America solve our energy supply
problems," said Greg Schnacke, President and CEO of Americans For
American Energy. "The Governor is trying to have it both ways –
talking tough on the need for strengthening American energy supply and
security while carrying the water of environmental extremists to block
the development of America's massive oil shale reserves."
"Gov. Ritter knows that at this stage of research and development, no
company will be able to commit the billions of dollars needed to
figure out how we can develop oil shale in a responsible manner
without the promise of eventual commercialization," Schnacke said.
"By saying good things about research and development, but opposing
commercialization, the Governor is following the duplicitous path laid
out by those who oppose virtuallly and all American energy development."
"This isn't a 'chicken-and-egg' proposition. Our country needs
significant private investment to make these technologies work. The
ban on commercial leasing is a roadblock that the governor knows kills
the innovation and investment we will need to solve the environmental
and power issues leading to responsible development of these crucial
resources," Schnacke said.
"It's clear that the Gov. Ritter has chosen to side with environmental
extremists who will do anything possible to block development of the
biggest and most important American energy development on the
horizon. His posturing on this issue weakens America and puts our
national security at risk."
Congress late last year passed a one-year moratorium on commercial oil
shale leasing. An energy bill scheduled for a Senate vote on Tuesday
seeks to overturn that moratorium.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has issued a draft environmental
impact statement that calls for opening approximately 360,000 acres of
federal lands in northwest Colorado to commercial leasing for oil shale.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Petroleum
Reserves, America's total oil shale resources could exceed 6 trillion
barrels of oil equivalent, though not all of that reserve could be
produced economically. In the Western United States, the Green River
formation in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah contains up to 1.8 trillion
barrels of oil. Conservative estimates say there are 800 billion
barrels of recoverable oil in this area, an amount three times greater
than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. The federal government
controls approximately 70 percent of these reserves.