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30 SEP 2010: ANALYSIS

A High-Risk Energy Boom


Sweeps Across North America
Energy c o m panie s a re rus h ing to dev e lo p unc o nv e ntio nal
s o urc es o f o il and g as trappe d in c arb o n-ric h s h ale s and s a nds
th ro ugh o ut th e w es te rn U nite d S tate s a nd Canada. S o far,
go v ernm ent o ffic ials h av e s h o w n little c o nc e rn fo r th e
env iro nm ental c o ns e q uenc e s o f th is ne w fo s s il-fuel
dev elo pm ent b o o m .
BY KEITH SCHNEIDER

T h e m ost dir ec t pa t h t o A m er ic a ’s n ew est b ig oil a n d g a s


fields is U . S . H ig h w a y 1 2 , t w o la n es of b la c k t op t h a t u n fold
fr om G r a y s H a r b or in W a sh in g t on S t a t e a n d h ea d ea st
a c r oss t h e t op of t h e c ou n t r y t o Det r oit .

T h e 2 , 5 0 0 -m ile r ou t e h a s qu ic k ly b ec om e a n essen t ia l
su pply lin e for t h e en er g y in du st r y . W it h a st on ish in g speed,
U . S . oil c om pa n ies, C a n a dia n pipelin e b u ilder s, a n d
in v est or s fr om a ll ov er t h e g lob e a r e sp en din g h u g e su m s in
a n ec on om ic a lly pr om isin g a n d ec olog ic a lly r isk y r a c e t o
open t h e n ex t er a of h y dr oc a r b on dev elopm en t . A s dom est ic
U . S . pools of c on v en t ion a l oil a n d g a s d w in dle, en er g y
c om pa n ies a r e in c r ea sin g ly t u r n in g t o “ u n c on v en t ion a l ”
fossil fu el r eser v es c on t a in ed in t h e c a r b on r ic h -sa n ds a n d
deep sh a les of C a n a da , t h e G r ea t Pla in s, a n d t h e Roc k y
Mou n t a in W est .

C olor a do, U t a h , a n d W y om in g h old oil sh a le r eser v es


est im a t ed t o c on t a in 1 . 2 t r illion t o 1 . 8 t r illion b a r r els of oil,
a c c or din g t o t h e U . S . Depa r t m en t of En er g y , h a lf of w h ic h
t h e depa r t m en t sa y s is r ec ov er a b le. Ea st er n U t a h a lon e

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h olds t a r sa n ds oil r eser v es est im a t ed a t 1 2 b illion t o 1 9


b illion b a r r els. T h e t a r In North Dakota and
sa n ds r eg ion of n or t h er n other states, residents
A lb er t a , C a n a da c on t a in s
worry that the energy
r ec ov er a b le oil r eser v es
boom will deplete
c on ser v a t iv ely est im a t ed
a t 1 7 5 b illion b a r r els, a n d
aquifers.
w it h n ew t ec h n olog y c ou ld r ea c h 4 0 0 b illion b a r r els. Deep
g a s-b ea r in g sh a les of t h e G r ea t Pla in s, Roc k y Mou n t a in
W est , G r ea t La k es, Nor t h ea st , a n d G u lf C oa st c on t a in
c ou n t less t r illion s of feet of n a t u r a l g a s. If c u r r en t
pr ojec t ion s t u r n ou t t o b e a c c u r a t e, t h er e w ou ld b e en ou g h
oil a n d g a s t o pow er t h e U n it ed S t a t es for a t lea st a n ot h er
c en t u r y .

Bu t ev en a s on e of t h e la r g est en er g y b oom s in h ist or y h a s


er u pt ed a lon g a g r ea t a r c of t h e c on t in en t , t h e c on sequ en c es
a r e pr om pt in g c iv ic disc on t en t , la w su it s, a n d polit ic a l
b a t t les in st a t e c a p it a ls. T h e b oom is p r odu c in g fr esh sc a r s
on t h e la n d a n d n ew t h r ea t s t o sc a r c e w a t er su pplies.
G ov er n m en t st u dies sh ow t h a t ex ploit in g u n c on v en t ion a l
fossil-fu el r eser v es g en er a t es m or e C 0 2 em ission s t h a n
dr illin g for c on v en t ion a l oil a n d g a s a n d u ses t h r ee t o fiv e
t im es m or e w a t er . “ It ’s a pa c t w it h t h e dev il, ” sa y s Ra n dy
U da ll, a c on su lt in g en er g y a n a ly st fr om C olor a do. “ T h e t a r
sa n ds a n d sh a le oil a n d sh a le g a s r equ ir e a lot of w a t er . It
set s u p a c ollision c ou r se for t h e W est . ”

In c om m u n it ies fr om W y om in g t o T ex a s, t h ou sa n ds of
t r u c k s n ow r u m b le dow n r u r a l r oa ds, c a r r y in g t h e h u g e
a m ou n t s of w a t er — 2 m illion t o 4 m ill ion g a llon s per w el l —
n eeded t o fr ee oil a n d n a t u r a l g a s fr om sh a les b y b la st in g
t h em w it h h ig h -pr essu r e flu ids. In pla c es su c h a s Nor t h
Da k ot a , w h ic h r ec eiv es m odest a m ou n t s of r a in fa ll, loc a l
r esiden t s a n d c on ser v a t ion ist s w or r y t h a t t h e en er g y b oom
w ill deplet e a qu ifer s.

A n d t h e ex plosion in dev elopm en t of t h ese u n c on v en t ion a l


fossil fu els r a ises a t r ou b lin g qu est ion a t t h e n a t ion a l lev el:
A t a t im e w h en t h e c ou n t r y sh ou ld b e em b r a c in g a
r en ew a b le en er g y r ev olu t ion , it is h u r t lin g in t h e opposit e
dir ec t ion , dev elopin g on a m a ssiv e sc a le sou r c es of en er g y
t h a t c a u se c on sider a b ly m or e en v ir on m en t a l h a r m t h a n

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c on v en t ion a l oil a n d g a s dr illin g .

H ig h w a y 1 2 is a c r u c ia l
su pply r ou t e for t h is
b u r g eon in g in du st r y , w it h
fossil fu el c om pa n ies u sin g t h e
r oa d t o r ea c h a g ood por t ion of
t h e W est ’s n ew oil a n d g a s
dom a in t h a t lies t o t h e n or t h
a n d sou t h of t h e h ig h w a y . T h e
c om pa n ies t r a n spor t
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
equ ipm en t 9 0 0 m iles n or t h t o
The Syncrude oil sands extraction
facility near the tow n of Fort A lb er t a , C a n a da , w h er e t h ey
McMurray in Alberta, C anada.
a r e spen din g $1 5 b illion
a n n u a lly t o dev elop t h e r eg ion ’s t a r sa n ds, n ow t h e sin g le
la r g est sou r c e of oil im por t s t o t h e U . S . a n d t h e fa st est -
g r ow in g sou r c e of C O 2 em ission s in C a n a da , a c c or din g t o
t h e Pem b in a In st it u t e, a C a n a dia n en v ir on m en t a l t h in k
tan k.

In Nor t h Da k ot a — w h ic h h a s b ec om e t h e fou r t h -la r g est


oil-pr odu c in g st a t e in t h e c ou n t r y , w it h a n est im a t ed 1 0 0
m illion b a r r els b ein g pu lled ou t of deep sh a les t h is y ea r a n d
w h er e 1 , 0 0 0 w ells w ill b e dr illed in 2 0 1 0 — H ig h w a y 1 2
c r osses t h e $5 b illion , 2 , 1 5 1 -m ile Key st on e Pipelin e. It is t h e
c en t er piec e of a $3 1 b illion n et w or k of m a jor t r a n spor t l in es
eit h er pla n n ed or u n der c on st r u c t ion t o c a r r y oil fr om t h e
m iddle pa r t of t h e c on t in en t t o r efin er ies in T ex a s,
O k la h om a , a n d Illin ois t h a t a r e b ein g m oder n ized a n d
ex pa n ded a t a c ost of m or e t h a n $2 0 b illion . In a ll,
a c c or din g t o c om pa n y r epor t s a n d st a t e ec on om ic
dev elopm en t offic es, t h e oil in du st r y is spen din g n ea r ly
$1 0 0 b illion a n n u a lly in t h e U . S . t o per pet u a t e t h e fossil
fu el er a .

O il in du st r y ex ec u t iv es sa y t h eir in v est m en t s a r e c on sist en t


w it h t h e n a t ion a l g oa l of pr odu c in g m or e en er g y t o in c r ea se
sec u r it y . O il c om p a n ies a r e a lso pr ofit in g h a n dsom ely fr om
t h e ex ploit a t ion of t h ese u n c on v en t ion a l sou r c es of oil a n d
n a t u r a l g a s. T h e st a k es b ec a m e c lea r ea r lier t h is y ea r ,
w h en Ex x on Mob il p a id $4 1 b illion t o b u y X T O En er g y , a
m a jor pla y er in u n c on v en t ion a l fu els pr odu c t ion , espec ia lly
n a t u r a l g a s.

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La st y ea r , in a m u c h -dispu t ed dr a ft en v ir on m en t a l im p a c t
st a t em en t t h a t su m m a r ized t h e n eed for t h e n ew
Key st on e-X L pipelin e — w h ic h w ill t r a n spor t oil fr om
A lb er t a ’s t a r sa n ds t o U . S . r efin er ies — t h e U . S . Depa r t m en t
of S t a t e t a c it ly b a c k ed t h e n ew en er g y b oom . “ T h e
in c r ea sin g dem a n d for c r u de oil in t h e U . S . c a n n ot b e
en t ir ely m et b y effor t s t o c on ser v e u se of r efin ed pet r oleu m
pr odu c t s or t h e in c r ea sed u se of r en ew a b le en er g y , ” t h e
depa r t m en t sa id. “ A s c r u de oil dem a n d in c r ea ses, t h e
ov er a ll dom est ic su pplies of c r u de oil a r e dec lin in g . ” T h e
depa r t m en t ’s a n a l y st s a dded t h a t w it h ou t t h e pipelin e a n d
t h e n ew su pplies of oil it w ou ld c a r r y , t h e c ou n t r y “ w ou ld
r em a in depen den t u pon u n st a b le for eig n oil su pplies fr om
t h e Midea st , A fr ic a , Mex ic o, a n d S ou t h A m er ic a . ”

O n e of t h e fla sh poin t s is oc c u r r in g in n or t h er n Ida h o a n d


ea st er n Mon t a n a , w h er e oil c om pa n ies w a n t t o u se H ig h w a y
1 2 t o dispa t c h t h e la r g est c on v oy of ov er sized t r u c k s ev er
a ssem b led t o A lb er t a ’s t a r sa n ds a n d elsew h er e. T h e t r u c k s,
n ea r ly a s lon g a s foot b a ll fields a n d so w ide t h ey c ov er b ot h
la n es of t h e h ig h w a y , h a u l r efin in g a n d pr oc essin g
equ ipm en t t h a t w eig h s h u n dr eds of t on s a n d is a s t a ll a s a
m a n sion .

C on oc oPh ilips w a s g r a n t ed a r oa d per m it in Ida h o la st


m on t h t o h a u l fou r Kor ea n -b u ilt ov er sized oil-pr oc essin g
u n it s fr om Lew ist on , Ida h o, w h er e t h ey w er e offloa ded fr om
C olu m b ia Riv er b a r g es, t o The Bakken Shale may
t h e c om pa n y ’s ex p a n din g contain 4 billion barrels
r efin er y in Billin g s,
of oil and trillions of cubic
Mon t a n a . Ea r lier t h is
feet of natural gas.
m on t h , Ida h o S ec on d
Dist r ic t Ju dg e Joh n Br a db u r y r ev ok ed t h e per m it , a sser t in g
t h a t t h e st a t e did n ot a dequ a t ely a ssess t h e h a za r ds of t h e
sh ipm en t , pa r t ic u l a r ly t h e c on sequ en c es of a n a c c iden t
in v olv in g on e of t h e im m en se pr oc essin g u n it s b loc k in g t h e
h ig h w a y . Loc a l offic ia ls in Mon t a n a a r e c on sider in g sim ila r
leg a l a c t ion .

T h e c ou r t ju dg m en t in Ida h o, w h ic h is set for a n a ppea l on


O c t . 1 , c ou ld h a v e sig n ific a n t r a m ific a t ion s for Ex x on Mob il
C a n a da , w h ic h w a n t s t o m a k e 2 0 7 ov er size h a u ls n ex t y ea r

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a lon g H ig h w a y 1 2 . Ex x on ’s t r u c k s w ill c a r r y ev en la r g er
Kor ea n -b u ilt u n it s t o b e a ssem b led in t o a n ew t a r sa n ds oil
pr oc essin g pla n t in A lb er t a . T h e c om p a n y sa y s it m u st u se
H ig h w a y 1 2 b ec a u se t h e loa ds a r e t oo b ig t o fit u n der
b r idg es a lon g in t er st a t e h ig h w a y s or r a il lin es.

Despit e opposit ion , t h e oil a n d g a s in d u st r y is u n det er r ed.


T h e Ba k k en S h a le t h a t lies 1 0 , 0 0 0 feet b en ea t h a 2 0 0 , 0 0 0
squ a r e m ile ex pa n se of Nor t h Da k ot a , Mon t a n a , a n d
S a sk a t c h ew a n is sa id b y t h e U . S . G eol og ic a l S u r v ey t o
c on t a in m or e t h a n 4 b illion b a r r els of oil a n d t r illion s of
c u b ic feet of n a t u r a l g a s. O il in du st r y g eolog ist s sa y t h er e is
m u c h m or e t h a n t h a t in t h e Ba k k en , a n d in a sec on d oil -r ic h
sh a le r eser v e, t h e T h r ee For k s, t h a t lies b elow it .

S pu r r ed b y t h e Ba k k en r ic h es, en er g y c om pa n ies a r e n ow
spen din g t en s of m illion s of dolla r s t o lea se m in er a l r ig h t s in
W y om in g a n d C olor a do a n d a r e dr illin g ex plor a t or y w ells in
t h e Niob r a r a S h a le, w h ic h spr a w ls b en ea t h b ot h st a t es.

"It ju st a lm ost b og g les t h e m in d, ” Ly n n H elm s, dir ec t or of


t h e Nor t h Da k ot a Depa r t m en t of Min er a l Resou r c es, t old a
v et er a n s g r ou p in Min ot on S ept . 2 . “ It is n ot lik e t h e
t r a dit ion a l oil a n d g a s pla y . ”

A 2 0 0 6 st u dy b y t h e Depa r t m en t of En er g y t h a t look ed a t
r isin g en er g y dem a n d a n d dim in ish in g fr esh w a t er su pp lies
fou n d t h a t t h e c ollision b et w een t h e t w o w a s oc c u r r in g m ost
v iolen t ly in t h e fa st est -g r ow in g pa r t s of t h e c ou n t r y t h a t
a lso h a ppen ed t o h a v e t h e sc a r c est w a t er r esou r c es —
C a lifor n ia , t h e S ou t h w est , ‘The oil industry can find
t h e Roc k y Mou n t a in st a t es, water elsewhere,’ said one
a n d t h e U pper G r ea t
North Dakota wildlife
Pla in s.
official.
It t a k es 2 . 5 t o 6 . 5 g a llon s of w a t er t o ex t r a c t a n d r efin e on e
g a llon of t a r sa n ds oil, w h ic h is fou r t im es m or e w a t er t h a n
it t a k es t o pr odu c e oil fr om c on v en t ion a l r eser v es, a c c or din g
t o a 2 0 0 9 st u dy b y A r g on n e Na t ion a l La b or a t or y .

Mor eov er , pr odu c in g t a r sa n ds oil, a c c or din g t o t h e Na t u r a l


Resou r c es Defen se C ou n c il, g en er a t es a s m u c h a s t h r ee t im es
a s m a n y g r een h ou se g a ses per b a r r el a s c on v en t ion a l oil

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pr odu c t ion .

Ex t r a c t in g u n c on v en t ion a l fossil fu el r eser v es lik e t h e


Ba k k en for m a t ion u ses a lot of w a t er b ec a u se g et t in g t o t h e
oil a n d n a t u r a l g a s r equ ir es r u pt u r in g t h e deep sh a le t o
c r ea t e open spa c es a n d c r ev ic es t h r ou g h w h ic h t h e oil a n d
g a s c a n flow . T h e p u lv er izin g pr oc ess, c a lled h y dr a u lic
fr a c t u r in g or “ fr a c k in g , ” in v olv es sin k in g dr ill b it s t w o
m iles deep a n d t h en t u r n in g t h em t o m ov e h or izon t a lly
t h r ou g h t h e sh a le. A n a r m a da of t a n k t r u c k s h a u ls sev er a l
m illion g a llon s of w a t er t o ea c h w ell sit e, w h er e pu m ps sh oot
it dow n t h e w ell a t su c h su per h ig h pr essu r e — 8 , 0 0 0
pou n ds per squ a r e in c h — t h a t t h e r oc k split s.

T h e pr a c t ic e is r isk y . Ea r lier t h is m on t h , a n oil w ell


u n der g oin g fr a c k in g n ea r Kildeer , N. D. r u pt u r ed. T h e
b low ou t lea k ed 1 0 0 , 0 0 0 g a llon s of fr a c t u r in g flu id a n d
c r u de oil b efor e b ein g plu g g ed t w o da y s la t er .

Fr a c k in g h a s c a u sed c on t a m in a t ion of su r fa c e a n d
g r ou n dw a t er in ot h er st a t es a n d h a r m ed dr in k in g w a t er in
som e c om m u n it ies, a c c or din g t o a n u m b er of r epor t s fr om
loc a l en v ir on m en t a l or g a n iza t ion s.

Ea r lier t h is y ea r , a
A Controversial Drilling su per v isor w it h t h e Nor t h
Practice
Hits Roadblock in New York Da k ot a G a m e a n d Fish
Depa r t m en t for m a lly
Hydro fracturing is a
profitable method of opposed a fa r m er ’s pla n t o
natural gas extraction that sell a t h ir d of t h e w a t er in
uses large quantities of
water and chemicals to eig h t -foot -deep T r en t on
free gas from La k e t o a T ex a s en er g y
underground rock
formations. But New York
dev eloper . “ T r en t on La k e
City’s concerns about the practice have ju st doesn ’t h a v e t h e dept h
slowed a juggernaut that has been
a n d c a pa c it y w it h ou t
sweeping across parts of the northeastern
U.S., Bruce Stutz reports. ser iou sly im pa c t in g t h e
READ MORE la k e, ” sa id t h e su p er v isor ,
Fr ed Ry c k m a n . “ T h e oil in du st r y c a n fin d w a t er elsew h er e. ”

A lm ost 1 5 0 oil a n d g a s dr illin g r ig s a r e oper a t in g in Nor t h


Da k ot a t h is m on t h , n ea r ly t y in g a st a t e r ec or d, a n d m or e
t h a n a ll b u t t w o ot h er st a t es, T ex a s a n d Pen n sy lv a n ia . T h e
oil a n d g a s r u sh h a s b een a n ec on om ic b oon t o Nor t h Da k ot a ,

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w it h m or e t h a n 7 , 0 0 0 la b or er s m ig r a t in g in t o t h e st a t e;
Nor t h Da k ot a ’s u n em ploy m en t r a t e h a s dr opped t o 3 . 6
per c en t , t h e n a t ion ’s low est . T h e en er g y b oom h a s a lso fill ed
st a t e c offer s. W h en Nor t h Da k ot a ’s b u dg et c y c le en ded in
Ju n e, st a t e Bu dg et Dir ec t or Pa m S h a r p pr ou dly r epor t ed a n
$8 0 0 m illion su r pl u s.

C lea r ly , m ost Nor t h Da k ot a offic ia ls a r e n ot w or r y in g — y et


— a b ou t t h e en v ir on m en t a l c on sequ en c es.

Co rre ctio n, Oct. 1, 2010: An earlie r v ers io n o f th is artic le


inc o rrec tly s tate d th e am o unt o f w ate r it tak e s to pro duc e o il
fro m tar s ands . Th e c o rre c t figure , as c ite d b y th e Argo nne
Natio nal Lab o rato ry , is th at it tak e s 2. 5 to 6. 5 gallo ns o f w a te r
to extrac t and re fine o ne gallo n o f tar s a nds o il.

POSTED ON 30 SEP 2010 IN BIODIVER SITY BUSINESS &

INNOVATION ENER GY OC EANS POLIC Y & POLITIC S ASIA MIDDLE EAST NOR TH

AMER IC A NOR TH AMER IC A

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COM M ENTS

Add to this macabre scene in the West the fact that the largest shale gas reserve in
North America was announced earlier this year in New Brunswick. Unconventional
and dirty gas drilling in the East may morph from a nascent industry into a dominant
one, and soon.

Posted by Erik Hoffner on 30 Sep 2010

Thank goodness for Idaho's Judge Bradbury who is protecting the sanctity of our
highways from any industrial use! I wouldn't want to slow down any cars that are
burning foreign oil...

Posted by WDM on 30 Sep 2010

Thanks Keith Schneider for the article.

All of this activity is at the federal government's pleasure while their own reports
from DOD and other agencies indicate global warming/ climate destabilization as both
direct and indirect national security threats. Not to mention destruction of water,
forest, wildlife and other resources for civic sustainability.

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If a transformation of our corrupt government of ecocide corporatism were possible,


this scale of human and financial resources could take us substantially off fossil/fissile
fuels in one generation.

However, the military-industrial-finance-media complex fix seems to be in: talk


clean and play dirty. Exploitation and profit rules. I'm sure 99% of the public has no
idea what our beloved finance banks (oxymoron) are financing along with the
wealthiest (and subsidized) corporations on Eaarth. Just think, over one half trillion
dollars per year are moved out of global treasuries (International Energy Agency,
2010) so we can have more unfolding tragedies.

Posted by James New berry on 30 Sep 2010

WDM - your sarcasm and hyperbole miss the point. The local issue of these oversized
rigs on Idaho's highway 12 is not about keeping our highways free of industrial use
— it's about making sure that large corporations follow the same set of laws that the
rest of us are subject to when it comes to highway use.

These loads are over the legal limit as set by both federal and state law — the
process to receive a special oversized permit has certain requirements that
ConocoPhillips failed to meet and therefore the judge revoked the permit.

By making this an industry vs. environment argument you disregard the fact that we
have a system of laws in place to protect our highways/bridges, and therefore
protecting us, the taxpayers who pay for the maintainence and upkeep of the
highways.

Are we so addicted to oil that you advocate the bending or breaking of the law in
order to increase the profit margin of multi-national oil corporations?

Posted by mhw ygirl on 30 Sep 2010

The oil companies (like the cocaine drug dealers) are NOT the problem. If
AMERICANS didn't demand cheap gasolene and oil, these fossil fuels wouldn't be
needed.

The USA needs to tar & feather it's consumers... don't want oil exploitation, STOP
USING OIL.
Is the entire population of the USA so ignorant of this fundamental FACT.

$10 oil will fix the problem... in case no one noticed... you cannot have you cake,
and eat it too!

Posted by k24 on 30 Sep 2010

Accountable social costs (like disease) of burning one gallon of petroleum liquid
already exceeds $10 (as it has for decades). Then add in climate change, defense,
foreign policy, the Gulf tragedy and other unquantifiable externalities (read subsidies)
and you'll find the price of extracting and burning mined fluids and coal but a small
fraction of national costs and liabilities. That is why petrochemical mining is, and has
historically been, the most massively subsidized business scheme on earth.

Posted by James New berry on 30 Sep 2010

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Keith - It is all about the cost of this fuel. Tar Sands and Shale require enormous
amounts of energy to extract the oil. It will not make financial sense much longer
and as the price rises our economies will continue to falter.

Posted by Zev Paiss on 30 Sep 2010

Interesting that they call it a high risk venture. To the oil business, this is low risk
work, the only risk being price of oil. In conventional plays, one faces the risk of
price, as well as the 90% chance of a dry hole. In unconventional plays, we know
the oil is there before we invest in extraction.

Posted by Doug on 01 Oct 2010

Add to the cost the price of an ecosystem collapsing from toxic emissions:

http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2010/10/zawacki-is-
verb-that-means-i-told-you.html

Posted by Gail Zaw acki on 03 Oct 2010

Want carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly liquid fuels? Use nuclear energy to


separate carbon from CO2 (from coal plants, perhaps -- that's better than
sequestration) and hydrogen from water, and make synthetic fuels. We know how to
do it.

Posted by George S. Stanford on 04 Oct 2010

It is beyond belief that anyone would dream of transporting equipment of this size on
Highway 12, but it's unsurprising that Exxon/Mobile and other big firms want to save
money by using the Idaho/Montana corridor (big companies are always looking for
cheaper options so that their profits remain high). The fact that the ITD, Idaho Gov
Butch Otter and a slew of other Idaho politicians are so eager to let them is,
however, a disgrace. They have been elected to serve the best interest of the people
of Idaho - not the interests of big business. The long-term social, environmental, and
financial implications resulting from a major accident on Highway 12 far outweigh
any immediate financial benefits which the state would gain from this project.

Posted by Loree Westron on 07 Oct 2010

Our "representatives" (from both MT and ID) have shown who they represent and it
isn't the citizens. Thanks to all those, like Borg and Lin, who ferret out the truth,
share it with all of us and lead the charge to stop those who would destroy our
environment and way of life for a few dollars.

Posted by STEPH on 07 Oct 2010

Isn't it ironic that the people who live along the Highway 12 stretch that is mandated
"wild and scenic" have to abide by the Forest Service rules so that the road remains

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"pristine" from commercial development will have to watch as the road becomes a
commercial highway? Stop the mega-loads!

Posted by Jean C arroll on 08 Oct 2010

I would not disagree with the post by George S. Stanford "Use nuclear energy to
separate carbon from CO2 (from coal ...)".

However, biofuel should be mentioned here.

Posted by Steve Areva on 15 Oct 2010

to Jean Carrolls comment about biofuel.

I think biofuel is a dangerous way to go as long as we get it from food sources. It


rockets the price on food and will never work in the long run.

Right now nuclear is the best option. Or growth of green algie that can be converted
to crude oil.

Posted by lån on 23 Oct 2010

© 2008-2011 Yale University | TOP | HOME | C ONTAC T | PR IVAC Y POLIC Y


The development of these unconventional hydrocarbon energy sources is one that
will likely not stop in the foreseable future. The greater part of our current world
industrial capitalist economic system, from exploitation of resources to manufacturing
of goods, runs on hydrocarbon energy. It is a human ecosystem R-selected sere that
will most likely come to pass when the net energy produced by hydrocarbons nears
zero.

Variables such competition for available water resources are coming into conflict with
exploitation of these energy sources. These present opportunities to use human
political will, though skewed to monied interests, to start making changes with a lot
of hard work.

The more we adopt lifestyles that rely less and less on hydrocarbon energy the more
likely we are to change the system. However, doing this entails adopting a lifestyle
more akin to the one that our grandfathers and great grandfathers led. This is
something hard to do voluntarily when there is plentiful, cheap energy (witness the
failure of the 70's "back to the land" movement) and our "progress" culture has
expectations of higher and better standards of living.

Though I live in the golden age I wish I could live a long enough time to witness the
green age, one in which human ecosystems have evolved into a K-selected sere in
balance with Earth where a stable climax community can exist. Until then I can
choose to tend to a garden, ride a bicycle, fly a quite, care for my neighbor and go
for early morning walks.

May peace be with you all

Posted by Jesubmar on 23 Oct 2010

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