Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Orin Hatch: Utah should "recover" Oil Shale and Tar Sands

Oil Shale, burning much like coal after a more -involved extraction process than "regular" tar sands, is perhaps the energy equivalent of a scoundrels refuge. If we see the energy economy go to this form of extraction without coming up with a plan for a non-oil existence, then we may as well give up on most everything save the immediate future, for it will be the final surrender to climate change and the destruction of the liveable biosphere, for the purpose of fuelling a riding lawn mower...


Hatch urges use of Utah's tar sands and oil shale
He says state contains up to 3 trillion barrels of oil
By Natalie Clemens
Deseret Morning News (Utah)
Tuesday, August 16, 2005

He says state contains up to 3 trillion barrels of oil By Natalie Clemens Deseret Morning News With gas prices surging higher and higher in the United States, Sen. Orrin Hatch believes some of the nation's energy cost dilemmas may be alleviated by Utah's resources. Hatch, R-Utah, told the Deseret Morning News editorial board Monday that tar sand and oil shale resources in Utah could be used for oil production. Utah gets 25 percent of its oil from Canada, he said, and Canada is making its oil from tar sands at about $20 a barrel or less.

In July, Hatch authored the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Development Act, SB1111. The act promotes development of hydrocarbon in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. "We have more recoverable oil in Utah and Colorado than in the Middle East," Hatch said in a July 26 press release. "Yet Utah imports nearly one-fourth of its oil from Canada tar sands, even though we have a larger tar sands resource in the state that until now has remained undeveloped." Hatch said Utah's energy future also looks bright because of an estimated 1.5 trillion to 3 trillion barrels of oil that is recoverable in Utah.

"I think it's closer to 3 trillion," he said. Others think Utah's oil resources are less lucrative. The Sierra Club issued a report, "America's Great Outdoors," in June that criticized the use of 6 million acres of redrock wilderness for oil and gas exploration. Marc Heileson, Sierra regional representative, told the Deseret Morning News in June that the lands should be protected for future generations.

"If they found all the oil they thought they would in Utah, it would only be three weeks of our national demand," he said. "Yet these are treasures that people come from all over the world to see." Hatch's Oil Shale and Tar Sands Development bill is part of a comprehensive energy bill that includes other provisions he authored. One provision, Geothermal and Renewable Resources, SB1156, would promote geothermal energy, a domestic energy source that according to a press release from Hatch's office could provide energy for more than 22 million homes if fully developed.

"Utah sits on some of the biggest and most important geothermal reservoirs in the country," Hatch said. The energy legislation was agreed on by a Senate-House negotiating team in July, and now must be agreed to by the House and Senate. Hatch also told the Deseret Morning News Monday that the Legacy Parkway, a highway that would give motorists an alternative to from I-15 between Davis and Salt Lake counties, is an important part of Utah's future. He said that the 11-mile stretch of highway would alleviate traffic and congestion in Salt Lake City. "If you have an accident on those roads, they are backed up for hours," Hatch said.

Hatch said that five companies have gone bankrupt since initial construction was halted by a 2001 lawsuit. The highway remains 41 percent completed. He said he is offended that Utahns have to put up with organizations like the Sierra Club, which has fought tooth and nail against the development. "They know that by holding this up they can get their way," Hatch said. Hatch said he has tried all ways possible to get around litigation that is stopping the highway from being completed.

"We're a state that believes wetlands and other environmental areas are important," he said. "We're not a bunch of nitwits out here." The state of Utah is still negotiating with the Sierra Club over the highway. Heileson said that the two parties are extremely close to a win-win deal in regards to the highway. "It would protect the environment, provide good transportation and be a better future for Utah," Heileson said.

E-MAIL: nclemens@desnews.com

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