- News &
Comment Deadline Quickly Approaching - March 20th
The BLM released its Draft plan for commercial oil shale and tar sands development in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado on December 21, 2007. This plan lays the groundwork for a commercial-scale oil shale industry that would be far more extensive than anything previously experienced in the West. But while the federal government is pushing a plan to lease immense acreage in eastern Utah for oil shale and across the state for tar sands, industry leaders are saying that successful commercial-scale oil shale development is at least 11-15 years out---if it’s even feasible. This fast-track to leasing with unproven technologies will have devastating impacts on our water, air, wildlife and agricultural resources and will compound already apparent impacts from the current oil and gas boom on our public lands.
The BLM plan lays the groundwork to destroy magnificent public landscapes in eastern Utah and the state’s incomparable red rock wilderness over the next several decades. It is impossible for the BLM to truly assess environmental impacts when the potential technologies to be used are not even fully developed yet. We need a unified voice telling BLM to Go Slow!
Oil shale development requires an incredible amount of energy because large amounts of rock must be heated to extremely high temperatures. Traditional above-ground methods for cooking oil shale must heat the rock to up to about 900° F to release the oil. Studies show that at least 40% of the energy value of the shale is consumed in production, since the shale has to be mined, transported, cooked, and then the by-products disposed of. Not a very high yield for the amount of energy put into the process.
The oil shale and tar sands region of eastern Utah, western Colorado, and southwestern Wyoming is dry country. Water supplies are scarce and relied upon heavily. Oil shale and tar sands extraction and processing will require significant amounts of water, as will the associated growth in local communities. For these reasons, water issues have long been viewed as a major constraint on large-scale development of these so-called “unconventional fuels.” Surface mining and processing of oil shale would use up to five barrels of water for each barrel of oil produced. What’s more, greenhouse gas emissions from the production of synthetic crude are more than three times those from conventional crude.
Here's what you can do:
Your voice needs to be heard! Please comment on the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Oil Shale and Tar Sands by visiting http://ostseis.anl.gov/.
You can also visit the following websites for more information:
http://www.oilshalefacts.org/ (general facts about oil shale and Colorado specific information)
http://www.oilsandswatch.org/ (Pembina Institute in Canada)