May 13, 2012

Blockbuster News About U.S. Oil Reserves … Isn’t News

Searches on “Government Accountability Office” (not in quotes), “shale,” and “mittal” at the Associated Press’s national site return nothing relevant to the energy-related story which will follow. A Google News search on “Anu Mittal,” the person from the GAO who on Thursday testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology`s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, appears to return seven relevant items, but it’s really five. The first is a press release from the Luddite (aka Democratic) members of the committee pooh-poohing the importance of Ms. Mittal’s assertions. The other four are from non-major and/or non-establishment press sources: Newser, American Thinker, Daily Markets, and the Inquisitr (yes, spelled correctly). Only one other news outlet I’m aware of, Media Research Center’s CNS News, has also noted Ms. Mittal’s testimony.

What Ms. Mittal had to say is that, according to a leading research organization, just one area overlapping three states in the West (not the Midwest, as a couple of the other links assert) has an astounding quantity of recoverable oil:

… Oil shale deposits in the Green River Formation are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels of oil, half of which may be recoverable, which is about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.

… The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered. At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable.

The biggest problems is that the reserves are primarily on federal land. Instead of being pleased at the prospect of approaching energy independence, the environmental extremists who control policy in the Obama administration are probably already working on how to lock the area up so no one will be able to touch it even after they’re gone.

Ms. Mittal cited very real concerns about advances in technology required to make the oil recoverable at costs below current market prices, but also raised “sustainability” concerns which appear to yours truly to be mostly bogus. They’re the types of concerns (lots of people moving into currently low-population areas, related infrastructure concerns, and the like) which would have caused the hand-wringers and anti-progress zealots to shut off oil development in North Dakota, if they could have. But they didn’t, and though the state is enduring some growing pains, it’s still there, and it will get back to a manageable equilibrium not as soon as everyone would like, but soon enough.

The media bias points in this post are these:

  • Ms. Mittal’s testimony isn’t news in any establishment press outlet — In addition to the searches cited in the first paragraph, nothing relevant was found in a search on Ms. Mittal’s last name at the New York Times, Washington Post, or Los Angeles Times.
  • Of the outlets which did cover it, two of them gratuitously brought the Iraq War into the discussion. Newser’s Neal Colgrass wrote: “Maybe President Bush should have invaded the Midwest instead of Iraq.” Residents of Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming will be amused to learn that Colgrass believe that their states are in the Midwest. They’re not. Similarly, the unbylined Inquisitr report snarked that “While the United States has invaded much of the Middle East in search of lower gas prices, perhaps President Bush should have been focusing his efforts on the Midwest region of the United States during the first Iraq war.” Media bias clearly runs very deep — miles deep, if you will.
  • Even at American Thinker, Rick Moran seemed unduly pessimistic about the economic feasibility of recovery. One contrarian commenter at AT suggested that “The majority of the oil cited is economically recoverable using current technology.” In something I attempted to confirm but couldn’t, another wrote that “This shale oil is being recovered today in Utah by Newfield Energy.” The company has Utah operations, but I found nothing directly citing Utah shale operations.

Meanwhile, anything which even remotely seems to support the in reality nonexistent case for global warming gets preferential treatment from the establishment press — which can only lead one to conclude that many journalists and the Democrats who feed them news leads would rather see the nation economically dependent and energy-starved than energy-independent and prosperous.

Cross-posted at



  1. Which now makes the liberal/econut argument specious. We (non liberal/econuts) aren’t selfishly using up the world’s oil, it is the liberals and econuts who insist on being selfish by outsourcing oil production thus needlessly and selfishly taking resources from all the poor and down trodden.

    Selfish, selfish liberals consuming the world’s resources in their gas guzzling limousines. Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore being the worst offenders among them with Barack and Michelle Obama consuming more oil in four years than any US family in their lifetime. It is US liberals who want to consume the planet with their unsustainable spendthrift wasteful ways.

    Comment by dscott — May 14, 2012 @ 8:34 am

  2. Their only remaining defense is globaloney, which I expect they will attempt to play up relentlessly. I hope that dog won’t hunt.

    Comment by Tom — May 14, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  3. Let’s posit a conspiracy about the Green River Formation and why liberals so actively moved to lock up huge tracts of gas and oil producing areas on federal lands. What if liberals and their self serving elites decided that they could institute a Saudi style dependency society in which people were paid to be citizens where everything was subsidized? Is this not the ideal liberal situation where they get to rule and the rest of the country is happily subservient on permanent retirement?

    How would one go about creating that condition in a world with major oil and gas deposits outside of your sphere of control? What is the Arab’s greatest fear? The day the oil runs out. What if the liberal elite decided their path to a bloodless coup was to use up all/substantially the world’s oil outside of the US thus driving up the price oil stratospherically in a peak oil scenario? Wouldn’t they pursue precisely the current policies of outsourcing US energy needs by consuming as much foreign oil as possible? Isn’t China and India’s oil consumption as huge as ours with no matching oil reserves? The net result after using up or substantially so the oil reserves outside of the US would place the US in the catbird seat for the following 50 to 100 years. Deficits would disappear, the national debt would be paid off, everyone would receive monthly profit sharing checks and liberals would be in power indefinitely and be supremely (George Soros) rich.

    What I described here is not socialism or capitalism but mercantilism a throw back to the 17 and 1800s.

    Comment by dscott — May 14, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  4. [...] Blockbuster News About U.S. Oil Reserves … Isn’t News [...]

    Pingback by Blockbuster News About U.S. Oil Reserves … Isn’t News | PERSUASION IN INK — May 14, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  5. Issues worth raising, esp if Dems somehow continue to rule the roost.

    Comment by Tom — May 14, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

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