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Oil shale debate rages. How realistic is it?

Shell bullish, enviros wary. Production decades away

Source:  Copyright 2009, Telluride Daily Planet
Date:  January 11, 2009
Byline:  Reilly Capps
Original URL: Status ONLINE


A Tellurider remembers the dreams he had, back when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and oil was expensive. He thought the Western Slope would become America's power plant, because underneath our dirt is a uniquely American energy jackpot in the form of oil shale.

'It makes an excellent fuel,' says Daniel Curtin, who holds a PhD in chemical engineering, and 13 patents in the are of oil shale removal. 'Oil shale plants were going to sprout up like mushrooms.'

Of course, crude oil prices dropped, and the Western Slope boom never happened. But as the Bush Administration exits, it is establishing some new regulations friendlier to the oil shale industry, and made some wonder if those oil shale plants will soon mushroom.

Not likely. A spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell says large-scale production probably won't start for 10 to 15 years. And it won't be close to Telluride. The richest deposits of oil shale lie in the area where Utah, Colorado and ...

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