Doc Hastings defends fantasy jobs, leaves western water in the dust

House Natural Resource Committee Chairman Doc Hastings proved again last week that he’s more interested in protecting Big Oil subsidies than taking a smart approach to energy that protects western water.

On Friday, the Department of Interior finalized a smart, balanced approach for oil shale on public lands that helps to ensure drought-stricken communities aren’t put in further jeopardy. Since that approach means fewer handouts for oil companies, Chairman Hastings was quick to respond with a ridiculously inaccurate statement about oil shale. Hastings said that the decision “sends oil shale jobs overseas.”

First off: What jobs? There is no oil shale industry. Despite 100 years of trying, and billions risked in taxpayer-funded subsidies, oil shale has never been successfully commercialized in the U.S.

Second: How can the U.S. ship jobs – that don’t even exist in the first place – overseas? Will they go to imaginary foreign workers?

Oil shale isn’t a job creator or a viable energy source. In 2012, only days after Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) finished pushing a new oil shale boondoggle through the U.S. House, oil giant Chevron closed down what was supposed to be a lucrative oil shale experiment on Colorado’s West Slope. Chevron then reassigned all three full-time workers it had on the project.

Until Rep. Hastings gets his facts straight on oil shale, he should be careful what he says. It might save him some embarrassment, and being more informed might help him protect more American communities.

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