Salazar sees no oil shale change by Obama team

The pending change from the Bush administration to the Obama administration probably won’t change the nation’s approach to oil shale, Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said Wednesday.

The existing program of allowing companies to experiment on research and development leases on federal lands overlaying shale “is a good one,” Salazar said. “The agenda is not going to change much.”

The Bush administration’s decision to move toward commercial regulations “may be revisited,” he said. Congress lifted its moratorium on the development of oil shale rules earlier this year when it also lifted a ban on offshore drilling.

One Bush administration effort to move forward on drilling atop the Roan Plateau could be reversed, Salazar said.

“We are open to drilling on the Roan, and we’d like to move forward in the manner recommended by (Colorado) Gov. Bill Ritter and the Division of Wildlife,” Salazar said.

Ritter has advocated for moderate, phased leasing atop the Roan.

Salazar also characterized as “highly doubtful” the possibility of being asked to serve in Obama’s cabinet, but said he would make it clear to Obama that a Westerner should serve as secretary of the Interior.


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