At the same time, history teaches that oil shale is neither a magic bullet nor a quick path to energy independence. Those who parrot the old saw about there being "three times more oil in Utah and Colorado than in Saudi Arabia" are ill-informed.
Yes, we Americans love panaceas. We want a pill to cure baldness, slimmer thighs in 30 days, a magic gadget to double our engine's fuel economy. And yes, federal and state governments have an interest in seeing whether it's possible to produce oil shale economically.
But the hard truth is that drillers in North Dakota will produce more oil in the next 12 months than the oil shale industry has in 120 years.
Randy Udall is an energy analyst who lives in western Colorado.
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