Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico is joined by Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Colorado's Ken Salazar in a hearing for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the future of oil shale for helping cut the nation's energy independence.
Before a standing room only audiences that filled both City Council and County Commissioner chambers, the Senators heard from representatives of government from Colorado and Utah, as well as County Commissioners from Mesa and Rio Blanco Counties in Colorado, and from Uinta County in Utah. Representatives from the Oil Shale Industry also spoke.
Colorado State Director of the Department of Natural Resources Rissell George spoke for the office of the Governor about the problems the state faces in funding over site of the coming oil shale boom, telling the Senators there are a lot of unknowns in the years ahead, "but we will meet the challenge."
Local county commissioners told of concerns about impacts the industry will have on water, as well as difficulties faced by rural governments in paying for improved roads and other infrastructure. Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis says something must be worked out to get some funding to anticipate future needs.
After the meeting the Senators left Grand Junction to tour a mine in Utah to see other ongoing research into Oil Shale production.