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Oil shale alternatives

Dear Editor:

If I could bring a thought to the board of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and its honorable chairman it would be that our greatest responsibility is to the natural environment that God has created to sustain life on this planet. Secondly, our responsibility is to our children’s children. They will rely on a healthy ecosystem to clean their air and water while providing their sustenance. Oil shale is the lowest-Btu, least efficient and most environmentally destructive of our energy options.

I applaud your forethought in anticipating future needs and noting the vast potential contained within the shale lands. Yet I would have you note that, had you flown over the shale lands you would see that they are islands of rich, pristine forests and abundant life within a dry and desolate territory. You may have noticed a persistent haze over the vast unpopulated desert in spite of the stunningly clear day on June 2. The haze originates from the huge coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners area, and it is filtered and cleaned by the island forests of the shale lands. The shale oil recovery projects could decimate those forests while doubling the coal-fired power plants and the haze. It is noted that clean air standards and clean water standards and enforcement have been reduced and relaxed by recent legislation.

There is a wide spectrum of possible energy alternatives. Conservation stands out as an untried alternative for self-reliance. Global, deep, abiotic oil sources, like those tapped in Kazakhstan, hold promise for continued supplies. Methane hydrates, littering the ocean floor and plaguing drilling rigs in the Gulf, contain enough clean methane within U.S. territorial waters to satisfy our energy needs for 2,000 years, according to the USGS. Solar PV has the potential to make every U.S. household energy self-sufficient. Wind power alone could deliver our needs and is already providing clean, sustainable energy at competitive prices.

Thank you for your attention and your life’s work toward the betterment of mankind.

P.S.: Testimony to the Shale Oil Field Committee concerning opening public lands to oil shale leasing and conditional water adjudications are accepted until June 23.

The meeting last Friday basically saw pertinent government agencies for Colorado and Utah confirm that they would do everything in their power to make oil shale oil recovery possible. Garfield County was not invited to testify. The county commissioners from three counties’ only caveat was how much their roads and infrastructures were suffering under current profitable natural gas recovery. They all requested funds for roads, infrastructure and enforcement. A commissioner from one county warned of the “horrors” of wilderness or wild and scenic river designations in his area.

John Hoffmann and Kim Stacey

Carbondale


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