Republicans have targeted U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., and Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, for criticism because of their support of a measure that prohibits the BLM from issuing final oil shale leasing regulations.Oil shale isn't the panacea, and its benefits in energy supply can't be fully reaped right away. But there are 800 billion barrels of oil there, making it a significant part of a long-term solution for American energy independence.
That ban is set to expire at the end of September, but Udall has said he is going to work to keep it in place. That position has drawn criticism from Bob Schaffer, a former congressman from Fort Collins, who is running against Udall in their battle to replace U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.
Even so, Mark Udall is working to prevent any reasonable process from even starting. Udall is saying "No way" to oil shale, while also blockading efforts to open up ANWR and latching desperately onto the Gang of 10's restrictive plans on offshore drilling.
No wonder Environment America - a major lobbying group that opposes any drilling - has judged Mark Udall's U-turn on energy production insincere. When it gets down to it, Udall's shift toward the center has left him far from supporting a truly comprehensive energy solution. Mark Udall is trying to buy votes from middle-of-the-road, independent voters who want more drilling. To do so, Udall is supporting the least possible drilling that he thinks he absolutely has to support in order to appear that he's on the same side of the issue.
In other words, Mark Udall has gone from "The only place he wants to drill is your wallet" to "The only places he wants to drill are your wallet and off the coasts of four states that don't include the most promising areas for energy development." It doesn't fit on a bumper sticker anymore, but it still doesn't help struggling Colorado families. And it doesn't look much better for the Boulder liberal Congressman.