Leave it to Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid to crash the Energy Freedom party. Not only is he crashing the party, he’s doing so through the side door where he thinks no one can see him.

Just when it appeared that we could celebrate Congress lifting the ban on oil shale, Senator Reid “has decided to sneak an extension of the oil shale ban through as Congress fights over the financial bailout.”

Thanks to Senator Jim DeMint and his blog for alerting the public and providing the text of the legislation:

Sec 1602 continues ban on oil shale. The language follows: SEC. 1602. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 152 of division A of H.R. 2638 (110th Congress), the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009, the terms and conditions contained in section 433 of division F of Public Law 110–161 shall remain in effect for the 19 fiscal year ending September 30, 2009.

This comes as both a stunning and ridiculous development; Americans are still coping with high energy prices and coming to grips with a plan to bailout Wall Street, and Senator Reid is denying access to potentially one of America’s most abundant energy reserves. Just how much energy you ask?

Dr. Daniel Fine of MIT reported that 750 billion barrels worth of oil shale have been discovered in Colorado alone. That amount is enough to potentially power the U.S. economy for many decades. Furthermore, if full-scale production begins within five years, the U.S. could completely end its dependence on OPEC by 2020.

An estimated 1.2 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil is available in the Green River Formation, an area which expands through most of Colorado and parts of Utah and Wyoming. The recoverable oil refined from oil shale would provide another resource for fuel production. According to the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management, a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

In essence, Senator Reid is stripping the decision rights away from his colleagues in other states. In fact, Senator Ken Salazar, D-Colorado, fully supports lifting the ban on oil shale and he explains why:

In effect, it allows us in the state of Colorado to control our own destiny. At the end of the day, the people of the state of Colorado are the ones who ultimately will derive both the benefits and the detriments of oil shale development.”

Well Senator Salazar, guess who controls your state’s destiny now?