Federal budget bill blocks Colorado oil shale | VailDaily.com

Federal budget bill blocks Colorado oil shale

DENVER, Colorado – A $516 billion budget bill that’s expected to be sent to President Bush this week includes $50 million for security at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and a one year moratorium on expanding the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.

It also prevents the Bureau of Land Management from issuing leases, final rules or regulations for commercial-scale leasing of oil shale in 2008, which prompted a no vote from Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.

The U.S. Senate passed the megabill 76-17 Tuesday, sending it back to the U.S. House for final passage.

Allard said he could not support the bill because of the restrictions on oil shale, which some believe could yield up to 3 trillion barrels of oil that’s trapped in rock in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Allard said some companies have invested millions of dollars to develop technologies to extract the oil without the harsh strip mining methods of decades past.

“We have the best opportunity of determining if producing oil from shale is possible,” he said according to a transcript of his speech. “We must give this process an opportunity to work before we cut it off at the knees. The language included in this bill does just that.”

Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., supported the bill and the oil shale restrictions, which he said would ensure a “thoughtful and deliberative approach” to development.

A version passed by the House on Monday was supported by the state’s Democrats, with all three Republicans voted against it.

Meanwhile, Salazar said the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site delay gives the Army time to explain whether it’s necessary to expand the training site in southwestern Colorado. The Army wants to nearly triple the southeast Colorado site to about 1,000 square miles. It says it needs the room because Fort Carson is growing and because new weapons and tactics require more space.

Some nearby ranch owners oppose the expansion, fearing it would force them to sell their property against their will.

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