Earlier this year, Congress enacted a moratorium on the future leasing of lands for oil shale and tar sand production. President Bush has now asked Congress to lift the moratorium, allowing BLM to create rules regulating how the lands will be leased to commercial oil producers.
Before any oil shale leases are issued, an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will be required on each site. Once a lease is issued, the lessee will also have to obtain all required permits from state and local authorities, under their respective permitting processes, before any oil production operations can begin.
In August, BLM auctioned off 105,211 acres of land in Nevada for development of geothermal energy projects.