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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about extracting oil from shale and tar sands, the challenges Obama will face in Afghanistan, and how Hamas impedes the possibility of peace with Israel.

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Green energy cannot include oil shale and tar sands

Regarding the Jan. 2 editorial, "Obama's big oil decision": President-elect Obama has shown he is serious about climate change and building a globally competitive green economy. He therefore would be wise to pass on developing oil shale and tar sands. Even assuming that we are able to develop the technology to make commercial oil shale production viable, oil shale and tar sands are two of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet. Their extraction would doom our nation's chances of meeting Kyoto goals in this century, let alone by 2020.

Processing oil shale could require building dozens of new coal-burning power plants just when we have turned away from new coal plants in the West. At the same time, the water demands for oil shale processing could suck the life out of rural Colorado's sustainable agricultural and tourism-based economy.

Instead of wrongheaded efforts to squeeze oil from rock, we must look to the sun, the wind, and savings from efficiency to power the next generation's economy. Sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into dirty, dead-end fuels like oil shale and tar sands will result in far less investment in clean, long-term energy technologies. As a society, we cannot have it both ways. Our clean energy future will not become a reality unless we say, "thanks, but no, thanks," to the dirtiest of dirty fuels.





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