Stop Dirty Fuels:
Stop Dirty Fuels : Tar Sands : Liquid Coal : Oil Shale
photo: Dan Lashof, NRDC Shell Mahogany site in Western Colorado, where Shell conducts oil shale research projects. This picture is representative of an insitu condensation experiment.
Oil shale is a sedimentary rock found in vast quantities in the Green River Formation, which lies beneath portions of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming -- some of the most important wildlife habitat in the country. When heated to extreme temperatures, oil shale can be converted into liquid petroleum, which can be further refined into transportation fuel.
Oil shale development would further deplete already scarce water resources in the West, threaten wildlife habitat and increase air pollution, and the conversion process could also generate toxic waste. Western communities, already feeling the impacts of polluting oil and gas production, would face even more risks.
Despite the fact that commercial oil shale technology is largely untested, the amount of potential oil in the Green River Formation makes it an attractive proposition for many oil companies, who are pushing federal agencies to open publicly-owned wildlands to industrial energy development.
More about Dirty Fuels from
NRDC's staff blog
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