Andrea Germanos at Common Dreams reports on a topic I covered extensively in the 1980s for several publications, including two limited-circulation publications Inside DOE and SynFuels Weekly: oil shale. Not shale oil.
The difference is that shale oil is liquid crude trapped in tiny pores in the rock that can be extracted via high-pressure hydraulic fracturing. Oil shale contains kerogen. To get usable liquid from the kerogen, the rock must be heated to around 950 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius) in the absence of oxygen in process called retorting. Although oil shale has been produced commercially in several countries, including small amounts in the United States between the 1890s and 1930s, efforts to mass produce it in the 1980s (with billions in federal subsidies) as a hedge against future OPEC oil embargoes came to naught. There are huge deposits of oil shale in Colorado and Utah, with a bit in Wyoming. Germanos writes New Lawsuit Challenges Energy-Intensive ‘Disaster for Climate, Wildlife, and Colorado River Basin’:
A coalition of conservation groups filed a legal challenge this week to the Trump administration’s approval of what would be the nation’s first commercial-scale oil shale mine and processing facility—a fossil fuel project the groups say would run roughshod over the environment.
At issue is Estonia-based Enefit American Oil’s strip-mining South Project for eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin.
In their lawsuit (pdf) filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Utah, the organizations say that the administration violated the law in approving several rights of way for utilities across public lands to enable the company to construct and operate its proposed 50,000-barrel-per-day project […]
“The responsible federal agencies have worn blinders in approving this project, leaving themselves and the public in the dark about the immense ecological harm it would cause,” said Alex Hardee, an associate attorney at Earthjustice.
Michael Toll, a staff attorney at Grand Canyon Trust, laid out what the project would entail:
Enefit’s South Project would dig up more than 28 million tons of oil shale per year, generating hundreds of millions of tons of waste rock and “overburden”—the industry term for the soils, plants, and layers of rock that lie in the way.
It would also drain more than 3 billion gallons of water per year from the Green River in a region that averages fewer than 10 inches of precipitation annually. The total carbon dioxide emissions of the over 547 million barrels of oil produced over three decades—if you follow the lifecycle of the oil shale from mine to wheel—would be up to 75 percent higher than those of conventional fuels. […]
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TWEET OF THE DAY
Surely @SenatorCollins will get an “ironclad” promise from McConnell to have a Senate vote on the Equality Act. JK. He won’t even give her a fake promise and she won’t ask. She’s too busy voting for judges who will take away our rights
— Joe Sudbay (@JoeSudbay) May 17, 2019
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2010—60 Minutes: Despite damaged blowout preventer, BP cut corners immediately before explosion:
Last night 60 Minutes broadcast a stunning report on the Deepwater Horizon disaster featuring an eyewitness account from crew member Mike Williams and analysis from Dr. Bob Bea, a UC Berkeley engineering professor asked by the White House to help figure out what went wrong.
According to Williams, several weeks before the explosion, the blowout preventer was damaged but despite the damage, BP ordered the rig operator to ignore critical a safety measure when sealing the well. BP wanted the rig operator to seal the well without using drilling mud, a heavy liquid used to keep oil and gas from burbling up as cementers completed the seal.
According to Professor Bea, the accident would not have occurred had the drilling mud been used. Instead, BP cut corners in an attempt to save money, and now we’re left with this enormous economic and ecological disaster.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Weekend prep. Flynn, tariffs, hacks in FL and on WhatsApp, the abortion bills, Trump rager, his stupid wall, Iran, and nukes for the Sauds. Travis & Rachel of Irreverent Testimony, on unforced political errors after Highlands Ranch; Eric Posman on Beto.
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