GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- A group of businesses is banding together to fire back at the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and Club 20, which are pushing to open up oil shale development on public lands.
In mid-October, the chamber held a press conference to bring oil shale back into the public spotlight and ask the Bureau of Land Management to revert back to a 2008 policy that would open two million acres for leasing.
Thursday, 12 business owners in outdoor recreation, farming and manufacturing sent a letter to the chamber, objecting to its stance.
The letter says oil shale speculation would jeopardize Colorado water when we need it most -- in a drought -- and that it is too expensive in a down economy.
"We think the BLM's current proposed plan is the way to go. It's sensible and long-term. We have good energy development in place now that has worked well for our economy," said Seth Anderson with Loki Outerwear.
The BLM’s 2012 preferred alternative reduces available land from two million acres to about 462,000 acres. The business owners for the 2012 plan say it protects the land and the economy. The letter says developing oil shale would put existing jobs and businesses at risk because of the amount of water it could require.
Supporters of oil shale development argue that oil companies are not going to invest in research unless a lot of land is open for future development.