Stop Dirty Fuels:

Oil Shale

Stop Dirty Fuels : Tar Sands : Liquid Coal : Oil Shale

Oil Shale heating site

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

Safe For Now: Imperial Oil, Exxon Mobil, and BP Suspend Plans to Drill in Canada's Beaufort Sea
posted by Joshua Axelrod, 6/29/15
In a surprise announcement, Imperial Oil and its partners--ExxonMobil and BP--informed two Canadian ...
New Alberta climate policy is symbolic step - more is needed
posted by Anthony Swift, 6/25/15
Alberta's recently elected New Democratic Party (NDP) has signaled its intention to take steps to address ...
Marching to keep tar sands oil out of our communities
posted by Anthony Swift, 6/3/15
This blog was co-drafted with Michael Yamoah On June 6th, 2015, NRDC will join dozens of our allies ...
New York Says "Not So Fast" to Tar Sands Facility on the Hudson River
posted by Joshua Axelrod, 6/1/15
In a stunning and laudable reversal, New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has required ...
Santa Barbara pipeline spill highlights threats of tar sands expansion into the West Coast
posted by Anthony Swift, 5/20/15
The most recent oil spill in California highlights both fundamental weaknesses in basic safeguards for ...

Read more about dirty fuels on Switchboard >>

Share | |
Find NRDC on