From the Colorado Independent (David O. Williams):
On its way out the door last fall, the Bush Interior Department tried to lock in rules that would require oil shale royalty rates for production on public lands starting at about 5 percent – far below traditional oil and gas royalty rates because of the speculative nature of the resource.
In its ongoing investigation of former Bush Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who later signed on as an attorney with Dutch Royal Shell – one of the leading researchers of oil shale production in Colorado – the Times turned up e-mails where Norton tips her hand on the strategy she suggested for locking in royalty rates despite changing administrations…
Oil shale production involves either mining shale and super-heating it to force out the kerogen, or organic matter, in order to refine it into petroleum; or heating the shale underground in what’s known as in-situ production. Both methods require huge amounts of water and electricity, and environmentalists argue research and development funds would be better spent on renewables.