LETTER: Let’s move forward with oil shale | PostIndependent.com

LETTER: Let’s move forward with oil shale

Despite attempts by the environmentalist lobby to kill the industry, and contrary to the dire predictions of its opponents, oil shale continues to advance technologically, bringing closer the inevitable day when it will provide the bulk of America’s energy needs.

Shell, Enefit, and others are continuously moving forward, despite the man-made obstacles in their path. Though constantly faced with litigation and government roadblocks, these companies keep making steady progress in the development of their projects — including the technology to efficiently extract the oil, and processes that have reduced water needs for oil shale development to 1-3 barrels of water per barrel of oil produced. Shell, for example, has recently updated the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and Club 20 on its progress and the successes of each stage of development. This step-by-step approach is the proper way to do it, and will soon result in a fully viable industry that will support our area economically well into the future, and produce a high-end transportation fuel, if we let it.

The alternative is to continue to try and litigate and regulate the industry to death, until the day, probably not too far off, where some crisis or emergency — perhaps a major war in the Middle East demands that we produce the resource as quickly as possible — at that point there will be no environmental assessments, no step-by-step R&D, no testing different methods to see which will use the least amount of water — it will be an all-out rush to ramp the industry up as quickly as possible, with potentially catastrophic effects.

Isn’t the way the industry is trying to do it now much preferable? Oil shale has been studied nearly to death. The environmental impacts have been analyzed, re-analyzed and properly addressed. The time has come to implement the strategies that have been developed to take the industry to the next level.

Steve Reynolds

Glenwood Springs

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