The Bureau of Land Management hears concerns of citizens and local governments today in Rifle at a public hearing on oil shale leasing. The agency is seeking public input as part of a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement or PEIS. The project will examine environmental and socioeconomic impacts on western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming where it is believed there could be more oil locked in shale than exists in Saudi Arabia. Concerns were voiced about the impact on communities and the impact on air quality and water. The BLM has chosen six companies to do experimental oil shale development in western Colorado, and some local officials in Rio Blanco County say they feel they haven't been involved in the selection of companies for that program and hope things will change in the future. The BLM is charged with leasing parcels for full–scale commercial development, which congress has mandated that happen by 2008.
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