If you’re having trouble viewing the video, watch it on our YouTube or Vimeo pages.

Update 2/15/12, 6:34 PM EST: Co-director Matt Garrington’s statement on the failure of the Polis amendment which would have struck Lamborn’s oil shale boondoggle from the highway bill: “We applaud Rep. Polis for recognizing the failure of H.R. 3408 and the fact that oil shale is not ready for prime time. Speaker Boehner and Rep. Lamborn should quit trying to sell the American public on their ‘0-0-0 plan.’ The truth is — there is zero energy, zero revenue, and zero jobs in oil shale.

Click the following links to watch Polis and Lamborn debate:
Polis 1
Polis 2
Lamborn 1
Lamborn 2

UPDATE: We’ve gotten word that Speaker Boehner is planning to group all three energy bills under the PIONEERS Act banner. He’s trying cover up the fact that oil shale creates zero energy and zero revenue. Boehner and Lamborn are trying to keep people from realizing that HR 3408 won’t fund anything, but it will give two million acres of land to oil companies, and knock down royalties if the rock ever is developed.

He’s pushed the rule vote on the PIONEERS act up to tonight. He’s trying to pass oil shale separately from the rest of the highway bill. He’s hoping nobody will remember that oil shale has been a money pit for 100 years.

Remember, CBO scored PIONEERS as having no effect on revenue, meanwhile the Speaker’s been saying it’s one of HR 7’s funding sources. He has to try and change the landscape.

Help spread our new video around, so that people can learn the facts about oil shale, and what Speaker Boehner and Rep. Lamborn are trying to sneak past us.

# # #

Speaker of the House John Boehner is bringing his controversial highway bill (H.R. 7) to the floor this week. As you may have read in these pages (or plenty of others) the Speaker has identified Rep. Doug Lamborn’s oil shale boondoggle (H.R. 3408) as one of his funding sources.

Since oil shale doesn’t actually generate any money, we thought pointing out the truth behind Boehner’s and Lamborn’s bills was worth a new Checks and Balances Project video.

It’s bad enough that Lamborn’s bill actually creates a new subsidy for oil companies by setting “bargain basement” royalty rates for oil shale. And that it would hand over two million acres of public land to oil companies for the sake of oil shale speculation and mandate commercial leasing on 125,00 acres of public lands even though there is no commercial oil shale industry.

But now the Speaker is saying that we will pay for millions of dollars’ worth of repairs to highways and bridges with revenue from oil shale.

The problem with that plan is that oil shale creates zero revenue. And for that matter, zero energy and zero jobs.

In 100 years, oil shale has never been commercially developed in the United States despite billions in taxpayer-funded research and development handouts to industry.

In fact, Shell Oil, which is recognized as a leader in oil shale research, says the earliest that commercial oil shale technology could be available is next decade, and possibly later.

“A commercial decision would be in the middle of the next decade and possibly later depending on the sequence and outcome of research activities.” – Shell Oil website

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office reported “the legislation would not affect revenues” and projected zero revenue between 2012 and 2022.

Even Lamborn admitted to Allison Sherry at the Denver Post that oil shale “is not a real contributor to the highway transportation needs we have.”

So in addition to our video, I sent a letter to Speaker Boehner and Rep. Lamborn. In the letter I asked a very simple question:

My organization wishes to know how H.R. 3408, which will generate zero oil shale “revenue,” is intended to fund desperately needed repairs to our nation’s crumbling roads, highways, and bridges.

I’m hoping to hear back from the Speaker or Rep. Lamborn soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

The facts are clear. If America tries to fund highway repairs with oil shale revenues, we’re just looking at an increase in deficit spending. We need to spread the word, so people are educated. Watch our video. Share it with your friends.

And whenever you’re tweeting or facebooking, use the hashtag #oilshalefail. If we work together and make enough noise, maybe we can drown out the spin and rhetoric politicians are putting out there on oil shale.


Our weekly update to unravel the industry and political spin around the energy debate



Despite billion-dollar profits across the board, Big Oil refineries are producing less fuel while making more money. It’s too bad this game of monopoly has real impacts to our pocketbooks. According to the Department of Energy, American refineries’ operations have dropped by eight percent to 81 percent of their total production capacity. Oil and gas corporations are fattening up their wallets at taxpayers expense. Los Angeles Times has the full story.


During the initial round of hearings hosted by the BLM, critics voiced their concerns over oil shale calling it “the petroleum equivalent of fool’s gold,” and pointing to the fact that oil companies have failed to produce any commercial oil from oil shale in the last 100 years. The economics of the dirty energy source were described as, “a Hail Mary shot from the half court.” The hearings are assessing the use of 1.9 million acres of public land that could be made available for oil shale drilling projects. Read about the hearings in the Deseret News or watch the video from NBC’s Grand Junction, Colorado affiliate KKCO.


During a ‘public’ meeting a week after the major fracking wastewater spill in Leroy, Pa., Governor Tom Corbett’s gas advisory commission shut out hundreds of Pennsylvanians who came to express their concerns about the controversial process. It’s no wonder the Commission is less than welcoming to public scrutiny: In 2010, Commission members collectively gave $790, 950 to Corbett’s political campaign and had 514 reported environmental violations between them. C&BP has the full story.


Thursday, the launch of RoilWedding.com highlighted Big Oil’s ties with Republican members of Congress. But last week, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan vocalized his support for the end of taxpayer-funded subsidies to oil and gas companies. Is this the first sign that the honeymoon may be over? Read more about Ryan’s remarks here.



The oil and gas industry gave $180,650 to House Speaker John Boehner for the 2010 election, the most they’ve ever paid into his campaign accounts in one election cycle. Could that be why he flip-flopped on taxpayer-funded subsidies to oil and gas companies after telling Jonathan Karl of ABC News that they could be on the chopping block?



Congress back in session means it’s time for some to put taxpayers’ money where politicians’ mouths are. We will be watching for any action from Chairman Paul Ryan, or the other Republicans we noted who expressed a willingness to end billion-dollar, taxpayer-funded subsidies to the oil and gas industry. President Obama sent a clear signal, in his letter to Congressional leadership, that ending oil and gas subsidies is a priority for his administration. Senator Harry Reid vowed to hold a vote to end the subsidies within the month.


Twitter: @checksandbals | Email: tips@checksandbalances.org


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