Gov. Mead opposes BLM’s oil shale plan

May 8, 2012

Gov. Matt Mead says he opposes a federal proposal to reduce the amount of public land in Wyoming available for possible oil shale development.

Last week, Mead sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management to disagree with their plan that would exclude oil shale development in places with wilderness characteristics and in areas of critical environmental concern.

Oil shale development involves extracting a petroleum-substance called kerogen that can be cooked and potentially turned into a liquid fuel. The process is known to use a lot of water.

Meadsays he believes decisions about mineral development restrictions should include local input.

But Bruce Pendery of the Wyoming Outdoor Council says his group commented in favor of the B-L-M’s plan to protect and in areas of environmental concern until the process has been proven safe and efficient.

“There’s just a significant number of uncertainties associated with it,” Pendery says. “We think it’s prudent to make these areas unavailable for leasing at this time, until we understand the technology better.”

Both Pendery and Mead agree that it’s unclear whether oil shale development will be economically viable.

Chevron recently gave up its oil shale lease in Colorado.