And from an artcile in Billings Gazette:
A reserve estimated at nearly 2 trillion barrels of oil buried deep in rock formations stretching from western Colorado into northeastern Utah and southwestern Wyoming may be a way to ease U.S. dependence on shrinking foreign oil supplies. The newly enacted energy bill was written to help open the way for research programs and commercial leasing of federal land containing oil shale.
Part of the discussion is that shale oil could reduce are dependence on foreign oil. Which would be a good thing imo. Isn't part of what funds terrorism the profits from OPEC. I know there are all kinds of issues (environmental, cost, etc.) - but its probably a good thing that they are at least starting to explore it again.