Hello energy; Goodbye ecologically intact Colorado… or how the oil shale industry is soon going to destroy Colorado’s now semi-intact ecology

Today the headlines are screaming out that the US will soon become the Number 1 oil producer in the world. That idea is based on the US oil shale industry becoming greatly expanded and oil extracted from oil shale deposits that are centered right here in the state of Colorado. ‘The Oil Shale Resource Base- The Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, has the largest known oil shale deposits in the world, holding from 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil. Of that, roughly 800 billion barrels are recoverable — more than triple Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves. Present U.S. demand for petroleum products is about 20 million barrels per day, so 800 billion barrels would last for more than 400 years if oil shale could be used to meet a quarter of that demand.’ Taken from RAND Corporation- Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment

So what is the impact going to be to Colorado? A quick answer comes from wikipedia… ‘Environmental impact of the oil shale industry includes the consideration of issues such as land use, waste management, and water and air pollution caused by the extraction and processing of oil shale. Surface mining of oil shale deposits causes the usual environmental impacts of open-pit mining. In addition, the combustion and thermal processing generate waste material, which must be disposed of, and harmful atmospheric emissions, including carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Experimental in-situ conversion processes and carbon capture and storage technologies may reduce some of these concerns in future, but may raise others, such as the pollution of groundwater.’ See Environmental impact of the oil shale industry

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