Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Colorado Senator Slams Bush's Oil Shale Fantasy

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) has a great op-ed in the Washington Post today on the false promise of oil shale:
Bush and his fellow oil shale boosters claim that if only Western communities would stand aside, energy companies could begin extracting more than 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil from domestic shale deposits. If only the federal government immediately offered even more public lands for development, the technology to extract oil from rock would suddenly ripen, oil supplies would rise and gas prices would fall.

If only.

Since the 19th century, we in the West have been trying to extract oil from the vast oil shale riches that lie under our feet. It is no easy task, and past efforts have failed miserably. Commercial oil shale development would require not only immense financial investments but also an undetermined quantity of (scarce) water from the Colorado River basin and the construction of several multibillion-dollar power plants.

Sen. Salazar goes on to point out "that oil would not come easily. It would take around one ton of rock to produce enough fuel to last the average car two weeks." ThinkProgress has a great analogy about the amount of energy stored in all of our oil shale: Think of it like a trillion tons of tater tots.

So how can we tackle our energy problems? How about recharging America's economy with renewable power and energy efficient technology?
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