Oil-sands development raises questions for Utah

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  • Anonymous
    March 6, 2009 10:57 a.m.

    Drilling will only give Big Oil more political power. It's bad for the environment, and it will not solve our energy problems. The United States has only a small percentage of the world's oil and not enough to meet our energy needs. We need renewable energy and we need to stop the Big Oil propaganda.

    And you Utahans know what Natural Gas is like... it turns your walls yellow. It's not good for the environment either.

    Drilling will not cause gas prices to fall. Driving LESS causes them to fall.

    --Pamela Rainsong

  • leenaree
    March 4, 2009 1:52 p.m.

    Interesting quote from Bennett about being "behind the curve." We are sadly behind the curve on renewable energy. Europe is decades ahead of us. The best wind and solar energy ideas and practical installations are in Europe, particularly in Denmark and Spain. Utah has also fallen behind the curve in thinking about how renewable energy can drive economic recovery and good jobs. The Danish and Spanish companies are building factories in the US to put supply close to the construction sites. They will be located in Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, Nebraska. Wyoming, Idaho, to name a few. Where was Utah in trying to recruit these companies to come in and provide good jobs. Instead, we get Wal-Mart.

  • Albertan
    March 2, 2009 8:14 a.m.

    Having the Pembina Insitute advise on oil sands development is like having Bin Laden advise on your national security. If Anonymous above did do the math,he/she would see that the average cost of production of sweet, (low/no sulphur), synthetic crude oil from mined oil sand bitumen is currently about US$40-50/bbl. Throw in the costs of maintaining military security over Middle Easterm imports, (since long before 9/11), and the US has been paying about $100/bbl for a very long time.

  • Anonymous
    March 1, 2009 10:21 p.m.

    Read this month's National Geographic story on the oil sands industry in Alberta, Canada. How on God's good earth can gaining 1 measly barrel of oil from tons of sands be considered economic? Do the math! It just doesn't hold up. Then add to that, all the land and environmental reclamation... And the recycled water used for the oil extractive process that sits in holding ponds until the next round of use IS seeping into the water table and causing havoc...

    but back to the economics. Where is the economic viability that's being claimed for oils sands? Anytime someone delves more deeply into finding out the numbers get real weird and squirrelly. Fact is, taking tons of dirt, while doing open scraping of the terrain, to get a single barrel of oil just doesn't make any economic sense... that is unless the extraction companies are using your tax dollars, as Corporate Welfare, to subsidize their so called profits. Now that's socialism if ever there was... which is also called Corporate Socialism.

    Social or Corporate, 'socialsim' by any prefix is still socialism all the same, whether Democratic (Social) or Republican (Corporate), still the same!

    March 1, 2009 7:45 p.m.

    The truth about any energy development is in the Energy In vs. Energy Out equation. Forget about all the other issues. If it takes more barrels of energy to mine, process, transport, etc. the energy that is being produced, you are not adding to the supply, you continue to take away. Oil sands and oil shales are two energy resources that will take more energy to bring to the market than they will provide. Many will argue that the jobs created and monies taken in lease contracts will be better for us than loosing more energy than we are making. Environmentalists can scream about the tragedy to the environment. But I really think everyone on both sides of the argument should be agreeing that if it takes more energy to produce than the energy produced it is a loosing proposition.
    Put people to work in other government sponsored job creation grants and subsidies. Develop other sources of renewable energy. Our state should never have to depend on such a poor choice of development, when we have the tremendous knowledge base and such a great entrepreneurial ability. Quit beating around the leaves and start at the root!!

  • Chris
    March 1, 2009 4:46 p.m.

    Yet another article that quotes the PEMBINA Institute. Do people not realize that they are nothing but a few ENVIRONMENTAL HACKS. Any opinion from them is always 100% biased. You will never get a balanced economy vs environment answer. See for your self, they will never say anything positive about oil/gas production, so their opinion is WORTHLESS.

  • Craig
    Feb. 28, 2009 8:25 a.m.

    The article is misleading. Utah does not have oil sands like Canada. We have oil shale which is mined completely different.You do not open pit mine oil shale.

  • Free market?
    Feb. 28, 2009 7:37 a.m.

    I love the quote about letting the free market decide about the development -- if so, why does oil sands require so much government subsidies and help? This picture attached to the article showing Fort McMurray's open-pit mine is truly disgusting -- worse than the coal fields and ugly mines we already have in Utah and Wyoming. Why are solar panels and wind turbines ugly enough to nix their development but the stentch and ugly views of open-pits acceptable?

    What's missing in this article is how the oil sands are produced, which requires freezing the perimeter of a field (to not allow toxins to pollute water supplies) so that the interior can be "cooked" to literally melt the oil out of the sand. It will require so much coal-fired electricity (and water for steam and cooling boilers) to do, that it will drive up need for power plants, etc. With our nation likely to switch to plug-in vehicles over the next decade, government needs to decide what technologies are most promising to subsidize by the time they're commercial -- batteries and improvements in our electricity system makes more sense than this!

  • Dave
    Feb. 28, 2009 6:56 a.m.

    If we do not do anything that may 'harm' the environment, then we will do nothing except die. Ther is a reason that life expectancy continues to rise.

  • liberal larry
    Feb. 28, 2009 5:56 a.m.

    It's a good thing that the feds are involved with energy development in Southern Utah. After seeing how Utah botched the environmental planning phase of the Legacy Highway, can you imagine the consequences of Utah state shale oil exploitation down south. We have the time, any shale oil use should be done right.

  • Geodude
    Feb. 27, 2009 10:56 p.m.

    Gee, what a surprise. Bennett doesn't think environmental concerns should stop oil sand development. I've got a great idea...how about he drinks the polluted water, breathes the emissions, and lives next door to the open pit mine so he understands why there are environmental and human consequences to irresponsible development. No wonder nobody listens to our Utah representatives...they live outside of reality.