Well, it happened today. I missed exactly who proposed it, but someone in Congress finally made the move to open up the Shale Oil reserves in the West. And the report was somewhat true, the shale oil out West is the only oil reserve in the US that would actually make a real difference in the world wide price of oil. To bad we still don't know how to extract oil from shale commercially. It is believed we can develop the tech and as long as oil is above $100 a barrel we can get the oil out. But we still don't know how we're going to do it.
Also, extracting the oil isn't drilling, it's digging. Just like the Alberta Tar Sands, Canada's oil production (remember that Canada is now our #1 oil importer), is an open pit mining operation, just like shale oil would be. If you know what mountain top removal is, open pit oil mining is worse. There's no valley to throw the trailings into. With oil rigs we have the technology that if the oil reserve isn't right below the rig, we can sort of drill to the side and reach the pocket of oil and pump it out. Can't do that with shale oil. You have to haul the shale out of the ground. And the ground isn't suitable for tunnel mining. It has to be open pit. So when the you see a map of where the oil is, understand that to get all that oil, all that area must be disturbed. That is, we have to make that whole area an open pit. It'll be bigger than the Grand Canyon.
And to reiterate, we have no commercially viable technology to extract the oil from the shale. We can do it in the laboratory, but those methods aren't scalable or require more energy to extract it than we get from the oil we can extract.
But there's a whole lotta oil there.