Dear Representative Napolitano,
On behalf of the 23,000 members of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union in New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming, I am writing to express our gratitude for your amendment to Rep. Lamborn’s PIONEERS bill. We agree with your concerns over the quantity and quality of water that will be used for commercial development of oil shale, a resource that has shown promise for close to a century, and never delivered on those promises.
Our members already face a water shortage caused by heavy demands on the river and changes in climate. We simply cannot gamble away our water on a speculative resource like oil shale. If we do, we risk losing a farm and ranch economy that is vital to grow the food our nation depends upon. In Colorado and across the West, agriculture is crucial to pulling our state and region out of recession.
You are absolutely correct in requesting that the U.S. Geological Survey study the impacts of oil shale on our water before rushing to commercial development. The Department of Interior should require developers to use existing leases to discover these impacts before considering the commercial leasing of our public lands for oil shale production.
Thank you for your leadership on this issue.