Bradford shelves bill for oil shale study

Controversy surrounding a Collbran Republican lawmaker’s proposal to create a commission to study the possible effects of oil shale development convinced her to sideline her own proposal for a year.

State Rep. Laura Bradford told her colleagues Wednesday afternoon she decided to kill her own bill to buy herself time over the summer to work on her proposal.

“We need to have the door, the conversation, if you will, open during the development of this resource and the technology,” Bradford said.

House Bill 1231 would have established a statewide oil shale task force to look at the costs and benefits of developing the 1 trillion barrels of oil the federal government estimates is locked inside shale formations beneath Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Bradford said she will endeavor over the summer to bring together stakeholders interested in possible future oil shale development to discuss the best way to talk about developing the resource.

Returning to a theme of her 2008 political campaign, Bradford called herself a conservationist who is uniquely suited, as a rancher and tree farmer, to balance conservation and energy-development issues.

“We don’t know the full impact (oil shale development) will have on our land and our water, our rivers, our mountains, but I can tell you I live there,” Bradford said. “What better watchdog could an industry have than someone who farms and ranches?”

“This is my yard, my backyard, my state,” she added.

Oil shale development has caused significant political upheaval in Colorado.

A former Colorado senator, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, decried a last-minute rule-making process to govern oil shale production that former President George W. Bush started shortly before leaving office.

Bradford’s colleagues on the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee complied with her request, voting to kill her bill.


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