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Salazar just ok'd another 700,000 acres for oil shale production near rivers that flow into the Colorado River in addition to 130,000 acres of oil sands production in the same areas.  The Green River is the chief tributary of the Colorado River.  What could possibly go wrong?  Just about everything.

Fracking wells already line the Green River in Wyoming and Utah.  Now 830,000 acres will be tar and oil shale mined.  All three oil/gas production methods require huge amounts of water to produce.  All three threaten to pollute the rivers.  All three leave behind toxic waste.  All three require fossil fuel energy to produce, lessening net gains from these environmentally devastating production methods.

What a shame.  Can these odius plans be stopped?  No.  Industry rules, Congress bows, and the production will procede.

Here's a map of the rivers.

Green & Colorado River Confluence

Here are pics of fracking wells lining the Green River.  Every white dot you see is a fracking pad, from which several wells can be drilled horizontally for miles.

Fracking Wells, Utah Near Green & White Rivers

Here are some fracking well pads IN the Green River

Wells IN a Utah River

Here's a pic of fracking pads on the banks of the White River

Fracking Wells on Banks of White River, Utah

In this pic, the red boxed area has been authorized for tar sands mining

P R Springs, Red Box - 50 sq miles:32,000 acres

Now, let's add oil shale production to the mix

Back in 2007 there was a public outcry over approved oil shale leases.

Oil shale resources in deposits in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming hold an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil, the BLM has said, but companies are still trying to find a commercially viable way to extract the petroleum.

This time around, the amount of land up for grabs shrank from 5,120 acres to 640 acres under a 10-year lease term.

Years of back and forth dialogue took place as these plans were reviewed under the guise of protecting the environment and responsible production techniques were considered.

Jump forward to 2013

Secretary Salazar Finalizes Plan Promoting Responsible Oil Shale and Tar Sands Research, Demonstration and Development

US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar issued a record of decision that finalizes a development process for federal oil shale and tar sands resources in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. The US Bureau of Land Management simultaneously proposed revisions to regulations governing commercial development of those resources.

The two actions make nearly 700,000 acres in the three states available for potential oil shale leasing and 130,000 acres in Utah available for potential tar sands leasing, Salazar said on Mar. 22.

I really don't like Salazar's plan.  I don't trust the industry.  I am appalled that drought threatened areas water resources are being threatened in order to enrich a few.

Not surprisingly, the Republicans hate Salazar's plan.  Could we garner any hope from their disapproval?

Two US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Republicans were immediately critical. “Far from an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan, these proposals do real harm to our efforts to right the economy and improve our energy security,” Lisa Murkowski (Alas.), the committee’s ranking minority member, said on Mar. 23.

“Under this plan, more than 1.5 million acres in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah with vast quantities of unconventional oil resources are being placed off limits,” she observed.

Sorry about that, Senators.  We are talking about highly toxic production here, not salmon fishing.  But fear not, in time I am sure the energy sector will find a path to completely ravishing and destroying all of America's rivers and water sheds.  It's what they do best!

The Colorado River is blatantly under attack by the fracking, oil sands and shale production that is getting the green light.

How many millions of people depend on her?  40,00,000 people not counting those consuming the food produced with this water!

Did I mention the long-term drought the southwest is experiencing.

Fracking, tar sands, and oil shale require huge amounts of water to extract.  At the very least, water flow to the Colorado River could be significantly reduces.

An average fracking well requires 3 to 8 MILLION  gallons (11,000 to 30,000 m3) of waterover its lifetime

Tar/Oil sands require a lot of water for production:

Of special concern in the relatively arid western United States is the large amount of water required for tar sands processing; currently, tar sands extraction and processing require several barrels of water for each barrel of oil produced, though some of the water can be recycled.
Oil shale production also requires a lot of water
For an oil shale industry producing 2.5 MMBbl/d, this equates to between 105 and 315 million gallons of water per day (MGD).
There are more details regarding Utah's already sanctioned oil sands production here.

I can spend hours providing the dangers this production will cause.  Most of you are already aware of these.

Here are a few examples of existing research:

Athabasca oil sands production studies provide enough history that we would think Salazar et al might consider.

Radiation isn't talked about very much. Excavating oil and gas from deep within the earth's surface laces the water used as well as the oil and gas products with radiation.

Radiation exposure requires North Dakota's fracking employees to actually wear dosimeters to make sure their exposure remains within exceptable daily levels.  I recommend reading this article:  Radioactivity and Shale Gas: Some Like It Hot?

Imagine radioactive laced Colorado River water wafting downstream to meet the needs of 40,000,000 people and the food that is grown from this water.

Maybe I'm a hardened cynic.  I don't trust DOE or the BLM.  Why?  Well, here's one example:

Operation Plowshare.  Do you remember?

In the 1960s and 70s, DOE thought using nuclear bombs would be a great way to extract natural gas:

Beginning in the mid-1960s, scientists used targeted nuclear explosions to stimulate natural gas production by fracturing the rocks in which the gas was locked to make them more permeable.

The natural gas work culminated in 1973 with the explosion of three 33-kiloton bombs thousands of feet underground in Rio Blanco, Colorado. The key problem was that the gas this produced had measurable amounts of radioactivity.  

That's correct.  The gas was radioactive.  The DOE couldn't have forseen this?  Really?

At minute 12:50 the use of Nuclear Explosions for gas and oil extraction.

Water is under attack in the USA.  For what?  More fossil fuels that are polluting our air and water?  Increases in CO2 that is warming our planet.

The industries are writing the policies.  For instance,

EPA new Study relies on 9 oil/gas Fracking companies to provide water safety data

"Many of the data come directly from the oil and gas industry and states with high levels of oil and gas activity."  Mostly from only nine (9) companies.  After all that has happened with "self-reporting" by industries, it's difficult to understand why the EPA would rely on the industry and states depending on a continual flow of these two cash crops for data.  But this is exactly what EPA is doing.
No wonder Lisa quit!

We, the people, we reap what the oil/gass profiteers sow.  These businesses change hands like a game of musical chairs.  When/if our rivers are destroyed, what will our recourse be?

Congress really needs a wake up call.  How much devastation must take place before some sanity in injected into the US energy plans?


We can stop this oil/gas production juggernaut

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