From the Associated Press:
The U.S. Department of the Interior scaled back a Bush administration plan Friday to lease Western range lands for development of oil shale and tar sands, the unconventional sources of oil found in pockets of the Rocky Mountains.
Federal officials said they were set to authorize 1,250 square miles of public land for commercial leasing in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. That's a third of the range lands that President George W. Bush planned to offer, and the new administration said it was taking wilderness-quality lands off the table.
On paper, the Rocky Mountain oil shale deposits could yield a great abundance of oil — more than 1 trillion barrels — but environmental groups say it would involve ripping up public lands and depleting scarce sources of water. Political leaders in Arizona and Nevada and farmers worry about a diversion of Colorado River water. Big-game hunters oppose the intrusion of mining. Thousands of pages of comments have been filed on the plans.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said it selected the best reserves for oil shale, a rock that contains fossilized algae, a primitive form of oil that never received enough heat or pressure to produce liquid crude. It's also a hard nut to crack — major oil companies are still experimenting with ways to make production economical, notably by baking rock in the ground to release fluids.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.