Review oil shale proposals

As part of an ongoing commitment to encourage industry to develop technologies that could lead to economic and commercial viability for oil shale development, the Bureau of Land Management has released for public review a preliminary environmental assessment for two proposed oil shale research development and demonstration leases in Rio Blanco County, Colo., about 35 miles southwest of Meeker.
ExxonMobil Exploration Company and Natural Soda Holdings Inc. have submitted plans of operations for the in-situ development of oil shale. Each proposed RD&D lease is a 160-acre tract with an associated preference lease area of up to 480 contiguous acres. The preference lease areas are reserved for possible conversion to a commercial lease, pending the results of the companies’ RD&D work and additional BLM review.
“RD&D leases provide the opportunity for industry to test and develop technologies to determine whether they can be viable on a commercial scale,” said Kent Walter, field manager for the White River Field Office. “This critical research, development and demonstration work will also help us answer important questions about the water demands and potential impacts of commercial-scale development, so that we can forge a responsible and orderly path forward if the technology proves viable.”
The proposals stem from the November 2009 call for nominations for oil shale RD&D leases. This 2009 call followed an initial round of nominations in 2007 in which six RD&D leases were issued. To date, technological and economic conditions have not combined to support a sustained commercial oil shale industry in the United States.
The two proposals encompass adjacent areas and are analyzed in one environmental assessment. The EA, plans of operation, maps of the area under consideration and other related details can be viewed on the WRFO website by going to
Prior to drafting the environmental assessment, BLM held a 30-day public scoping period last spring to identify issues and concerns related to the two proposals. BLM held public meetings in Meeker and Rifle, Colo.
BLM will accept public comments on the EA through June 16. Written comments can be mailed to Paul Daggett, BLM WRFO, 220 E. Market Street, Meeker, CO 81641, or sent via email to<>. Please note “2nd Oil Shale RD&D EA Comments” in the subject line for all emails. For more information, please contact Paul Daggett at 970-878-3819.
Before including address, phone number, e-mail address or any other personal identifying information in your comments, be advised that your entire comment, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While individuals may request BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public view, the BLM cannot guarantee it will be able to do so.