Presenter: Patty Limerick, Center of the American West, University of Colorado at Boulder
Limerick, Patty, "SLIDES: The History of Oil Shale Development and What It Means for the Future" (2010). The Promise and Peril of Oil Shale Development (February 5).
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The largest known oil shale deposits in the world are in the Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Fully one-half of the world’s oil shale lies within 150 miles of Grand Junction, Colorado, and about 80% of these reserves are on federal land. Estimates of recoverable reserves in the Green River Formation range from 500 billion to 1.53 trillion barrels. At present consumption rates, this is enough oil to satisfy 100% of U.S. demand for well over 100 years.
Development of oil shale could cause significant impacts on the Colorado Plateau. It would provide for a major economic boom, but the costs to the environment and to the rural communities of the West will be considerable and potentially irrevocable.
This event will engage the various stakeholders and interested parties in a discussion of various proposals to develop oil shale in western Colorado. A full-day program will address the myriad issues involved including the technology, economics, politics, and environmental impacts. We hope to compile and publish a compendium of materials from the proposed conference and from other sources that will help the public and policy-makers alike understand the key issues surrounding the various proposed actions for oil shale development.