Conservation group wants stricter standards for oil shale research

Mar 7, 2012

The Bureau of Land Management has begun taking comment on its plan to open up 461-thousand acres of public land in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming for Oil Shale Research, Development, and Demonstration Leases.Oil shale development involves extracting a petroleum-substance called kerogen that can be cooked and potentially turned into a liquid fuel.Western Resource Advocates spoke out against the plan today. Spokesman David Abelson says the process is known to use a lot of water -- which is becoming scarce as populations grow in the region.“Water is the defining resource in the west, and there is enormous uncertainty of what the impact is of utilizing large quantities of water for oil shale developments, impact on existing uses, impact on future uses.”Abelson says oil shale development has never been proven as a lucrative investment – Chevron just gave up its oil shale lease in Colorado – and the process is likely to waste water and contribute to air pollution. Abelson says WRA wants the government to require more research on process before presenting commercial leases.