January 8th, 2009
By Harriet Blake
Green Right Now
In its waning days, the outgoing Bush administration is promoting oil-shale development in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming by passing midnight-hour regulations that would open public lands to oil-shale exploration, leasing and development. In November, the Department of Interiorâ€™s Bureau of Land Management put these regulations into effect to develop an oil shale program that the bureau says could add 800 billion barrels of oil from land in the Western United States.
In response, earlier this week, 11 environmental groups notified the administration and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of their intent to file federal lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act. The BLM has 60 days to respond. The environmental groups, which include the Sierra Club, the Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, among others, want the administration to consider the effects that commercial oil-shale development will have on endangered species.