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“The Green River Formation, a largely vacant area where Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined, the Government Accountability Office reports.

Most of the oil is beneath federal land overseen by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, but the government has “locked up” development of the huge resource, critics charge.

Anu K. Mittal, the GAO’s director of natural resources and environment, said in written testimony submitted to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment: “The Green River Formation — an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming — contains the world's largest deposits of oil shale. “USGS [U.S. Geological Survey] estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions.

“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. This is an amount about equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves.” “