SALT LAKE CITY - Congress has just lifted a moratorium on oil shale development on federal land, but the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is warning of its consequences. The organization is hosting a presentation tonight featuring Energy Analyst Randy Udall, brother of Colorado Congressman Mark Udall. He says it doesn't matter how high the price of oil gets, or how much we improve extraction technology, oil shale will never be an efficient energy resource.
"We concluded that oil shale is the world's worst fossil fuel, it's the least prospective fossil fuel on the planet. It is a fossil fuel, but just barely. There is three times more energy in a ton of captain crunch than there is in a ton of oil shale. Oil shale has the energy density of baked potatoes," Udall said.
The advocate says politicians only talk about oil shale when gas prices get too high. He believes the consequences of extracting oil shale would be devastating to federal lands.
"The allure, the dream of oil shale for Colorado and Utah would very quickly turn into a nightmare. We would need to build new cities for ten of thousands of workers, the social impacts would just be staggering. So, many politicians look at oil shale as a panacea, when in reality, when you understand what would be needed to produce it, it is the original nightmare," Udall said.
But Udall says he wants energy companies to try to develop oil shale resources, as he believes it will lead them to discover it simply won't work. The Oil and Tar Sands Road Show will be held at tonight at seven at the Olpin Student Union Theater at the University of Utah.