Fight erupts over uintah basin oil shale mining project, protection of water

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  • Shale Doctor Golden, CO
    Jan. 24, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    The article states, "Hartley said the goal is for Red Leaf to be producing 300,000 barrels of oil by the end of 2015 — representing the world's first commercial production of oil shale in decades." Jeff Hartley certainly would not have said their production would be the world's first in decades, as he is well aware that production of shale oil from oil shale has been ongoing for decades in Estonia, Brazil, and China, and that Unocal produced 4-5 million barrels in the U. S. in the 1980s and early 1990s. One can only presume that it is the Deseret News that is so poorly informed about the facts, or that the reporter relied on one of the opposition groups cited for his misinformation.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Jan. 23, 2014 1:56 p.m.

    Skeptic, because they drive cars too and want lower gas prices just like I do. God left the shale there, pretty sure he doesn't mind us using it since he was involved in the creation of this earth. Nature? What is nature? Man? Man wants cheaper gas prices.

  • Shale Doctor Golden, CO
    Jan. 23, 2014 1:01 p.m.

    The quote from Mr. Weisheit is such a marvel of political spin nearly devoid of technical content as to set a new standard in this debate. The technology is distinctly different from techniques of a hundred years ago, and it is far from the fire trap he proclaims it to be. His every word choice is laden with pejorative implications with little basis in fact. The commenter who asserts that Big Oil killed this technology before ignores history which clearly indicates that price and new inexpensive supplies of conventional oil were what ended previous sporadic attempts to bring shale oil into production, as large oil companies were actively involved in trying. To my knowledge, Nazi Germany produced liquid fuel from coal but not from oil shale. The worst environmental impacts of oil shale processing came when the Soviet Union emphasized production over all else, and did a poor job of that in Estonia. Current operations there meet EU Regulations, which are at least as strict as those here. Current estimates are that various shale oil processes are profitable at oil prices in the range from $40-80 per barrel, although this could change as tests like Red Leaf's proceed.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 23, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Utah supposedly has visionaries who have the power of prophesy, how is it they don't speak out on this important issue involving god, nature and man.

  • Sky Is Not Falling Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 23, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    For me, Sierra Club is a total propaganda organization. When they say they prefer Solar panel but oppose other kind of energy development, they are gone too far in logical: 1) Solar (or Wind, or …) cannot be a majority energy source for a long long long time because of their Cost/Availability issues; 2) Those so called “Alternative” energy sources all require {“rare-earth metal” + “energy Storage” + “transmission line”}, do you count your air pollutions/birds killings/animal killings while produce those three requirements? We need to be educated by ourselves to understand the complexity of energy resource (availability/monetary cost/environmental cost), compromise have to be given under real world situations.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 23, 2014 3:04 a.m.

    WWII shale oil production was an experimental process that proved too costly and still is at over $4/gal gas at the pump. Job's with non disclosure contracts are negligible in numbers.

    The so called informed are not informed at all about the environmental process of fracking and its about more than the water they poison and turn toxic forever.

    In the Dakotas the water they use is more than water turned to steam, its also laced with toxic chemicals and non reusable and its trucked by 6,000 gallon tankers in a daily caravan to store their used water in toxic waste sites in sealed barrels underground. Its all out of sight and out of mind sterilization and poisoning of water resources for hundreds of miles around the drill site. Then what about the bunker buster bombs to fracture the shale and water aquifers that become toxic? What about the fractured shale leaking gas and oil to the surface and the eternal burning earth flames?

    This is all recorded evidence that fracking is environmentally destructive and forcing ranchers and city residents out of the state. Oil workers get water trucked in from out of state for persoanl and sanitary use.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Jan. 22, 2014 4:52 p.m.

    @ slave
    I spent considerable time in Eastern Europe where they have done this, and the pictures you see are from current operations.
    Removing the hydrocarbons actually allow for vegetation to be healthy in some areas, where is was not before.
    The technology is there it has been since before world war 2.
    In fact the US began doing this in 1946, but big oil purchased the company because the technology would hurt the profits.
    " The alleged objection to it by "Big Oil" in Houston was that the cost estimates for commercial production were so low that the corporations' oilfield resources would be rendered worthless"
    I personally want us weaned off of oil, and use alternatives but until then it is better to be off foreign oil.
    Look at Leauna where all of this has taken place and you will see the effects are very limited.

  • sherlock holmes Eastern, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    The State permitting folks will see through this last gasp poorly-reasoned attempt by the enviro lawyers. The state analysis is correct on their assessment. There IS no water issues on the site, as little is used or produced with this technology.

    No reason for any delays. The project should move forth.

  • slave American Fork, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 3:47 p.m.

    @ BeSmart
    Nazi Germany resorted to Shale oil and Tar Sand extraction only when most of their other sources of energy were lost. There are still thousands of tracts of Eastern Europe that have been destroyed by this process that yet has been proven to yield more energy than it takes to produce. We should look at this resource only once the technology is in place that can make it worthwhile. And to ever be willing to accept any damage to the environment is a crime to our children and future generations. Look at the damage we are starting to see because of the rush to develop Natural Gas
    To those who only argument against this is clean energy, well you need to do your research. Solar and Wind power do not yet cover the cost of operation and are highly subsidized by "carbon" fuels. Pacific power runs a very good PR department when it comes to "Clean" Energy.

  • Scott12345 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    Regarding this quote in the article: "It's this lack of visionary leadership that is putting Utah far behind the curve of other Western states that are embracing the clean energy revolution of the 21st century."

    Heard about North Dakota's fracking? Heard about how awesome their economy is?

    Oil is here to stay in our energy portfolio, until the alternative energy source improve drastically in their efficiency.

    I, for one, am interested to see if this works on a commercial scale. Would further reduce our need for foreign oil.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    Glad to see the Sierra Club and the other environmental groups putting a stake in the ground over this. It's a dirty, unnecessry carbon based energy source. We have more to gain with the Book Cliffs remaining as they are now to what they may become if we go down this road. The Sierra Club's financial resources pale in comparison to what the enery companies and the State of Utah will throw at this so please support them with time or money to stop this mis-guided ruse.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Jan. 22, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    Shale oil or tar sand production has been going on since before world war two.
    Before the Sierra Club comments they should educate themselves on the topic.
    Europe has produced oil and gas from these sources for almost a century.
    When the process of extraction is done properly it does not harm the environment to a great degree. You heat the rock in a sealed pit, it creates vapor that condensates into oil.
    Traditional natural gas production has a much greater impact on the environment.
    Methane is a highly efficient greenhouse gas, and can not be 100% contained (this is why they try to flare it off).
    Bottom line this is much safer for the environment than traditional Natural Gas Production.
    This method was the main way that Germany created fuel during WWII.