Norton: Colorado key to energy independence
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Western Colorado is poised to make a significant contribution to the nation’s energy independence, said Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, who spoke to a capacity crowd at the Energy Forum and Expo Friday in Grand Junction.
With alternative sources of energy such as renewables and unconventional resources, the United States can come to rely on its domestic sources.
In his State of the Union address in January, President Bush said there is a need for innovation in energy development, Norton said.
“Western Colorado is well suited for energy innovation,” she said.
Oil shale reserves in western Colorado are among the richest in the world.
“The question is whether it will be an economically viable venture,” said Norton, who is a former Colorado Attorney General.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directs the Department of the Interior to lease Bureau of Land Management lands for oil shale research and development. It also directs BLM to have commercial leases in place by 2008, Norton said.
She also acknowledged the oil shale bust of the early 1980s in western Colorado that left many out of work and the local economy struggling.
“It will be critically important for all the people in the area to be involved (in the planning process). We want to be as transparent as possible and as inclusive as possible,” she said.
“Interior will commit substantial resources and increase permits for wind energy and renewables,” Norton said.
The BLM is currently at work on a programmatic environmental impact statement that will identify likely locations for wind farms.
“We don’t think it will take long to see the benefits” of wind power, she said.
The president has also committed to support research into biomass as an energy source. One avenue being explored by Interior, Norton said, is the use of wood chips, which could be produced during forest-thinning projects.
“We can use wood chips to generate electricity or for gasoline,” she said. “We anticipate much more of this taking place in the future.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.