Instead of discussing and deciding policies in Washington, D.C. that affect the Western Slope, Congress will come to us this week to examine natural gas and oil shale opportunities.

The full panel of the House Natural Resources Committee will convene at 2 p.m. Friday, at Colorado Mesa University.

A half-dozen witnesses will testify including Gary Aho, executive director of the National Oil Shale Association; David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Oil and Gas Association, and Professor Hossein Kazemi with the Colorado School of Mines.

The hearing will also examine opportunities for the export of natural gas from the Piceance Basin through the proposed Jordan Cove LNG Terminal in Coos Bay Oregon.

We suspect this field hearing will serve as a location scouting expedition for this panel that also has oversight responsibility of the BLM, for when the agency packs up and leaves the Beltway for its new western headquarters, that will hopefully land in Grand Junction.