24 Apr '12, 3pm

Oil shale: an environmental disaster waiting to happen?

It used to be that oil came from a hole drilled in the ground. But as oil has become more scarce, the ways of getting at have become more numerous — so much so that it’s getting hard to keep track. Oil sands, shale oil, oil shale: These are all different sources of oil. And if you can’t keep them straight, well, rest assured the oil industry will. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi argues that it’s oil shale that might be the extraction point to watch in the coming years: “Oil shale” is basically rock that contains kerogen . You melt it (loosely speaking) to produce oil. It was a hot prospect in the late 1970s, but when the price of oil crashed, so did development. Developing oil shale requires huge investments and hasn’t made economic sense yet. But at a hearing last week, a former Bush administration official was hitting the Obama administration for limiting ...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/oil-shale-an-environmental-disaster...

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