Editorial: Weigh all costs of energy from oil shale, tar sands. Cost of oil shale is too high

People are beginning to realize that the cost of burning their food (corn) to fuel their automobiles is pretty high. Now that the Iowa caucus is over, perhaps some rationality will filter down to the politicians on this issue.

A much worse energy tradeoff, however, is oil shale. There are huge deposits of it in Utah and Colorado, but the costs of extracting it are enormous. It’s a bad net energy tradeoff because it doesn’t really contain oil, but rather a precursor to it, and not even in a very high concentration. Oil shale will be tremendously destructive to the environment too.

With all these things against it, naturally the Bush Administration thinks it’s a great thing. The Salt Lake Tribune does some reality-based analysis. Price too high. Editorial. Salt Lake Tribune.



, , ,



  1. cowboy the cat Avatar

    Please take the time to read this paper by Elliot Grunewald of Stanford University. He is an Ivy League educated graduate student in the Earth Science department. It is relatively short and has a thourough look at the environmental impacts of oil shale in the mountain west. If nothing else, start at the section titled “the implications of oil shale development. This is on par with mountain top removal in the Smokey mountains, if not worse. Yes it is a class paper, but it’s clear and concise, and has good references.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan