* June 22 Board of Regents meeting
* Southern Colorado colleges advance education
* Biannual Policy Reviews
* Task Force on Efficiency gives president update
* New student information system in August
* Researchers receive $13 million in federal stimulus
* Invention could improve vascular disease treatment
* Better health through the arts
* People
* Forum
  Center of the American West compiles online report about oil shale
  New Science and Engineering Building gets thin-film solar panels
  Study: Breastfed babies do well in high school, go on to college
  CU Foundation wins national fundraising award
Download Newsleter in PDF
Please share your comments and/or suggestions

News from the Campuses - CU-Boulder

Center of the American West compiles online report about oil shale

Oil shale
Oil shale is a term used to describe a variety of sedimentary rocks that will ignite when exposed to enough heat.
The University of Colorado at Boulder's Center of the American West has developed an online report that offers Web site visitors an impartial perspective on the oil shale production debate.

"What Every Westerner Should Know About Oil Shale" comes as Colorado prepares for what looks like another oil shale development cycle.

Patty Limerick
Patty Limerick is the Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at CU-Boulder.
CU history Professor Patty Limerick, who is the center's faculty director and board chair, co-authored the report with center researcher Jason Hanson. Two years in the making, the project details the first two oil shale booms on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.

The report's intent is "to provide a safe port in the storm of data disputes that usually rage on topics like this. We want to encourage a more responsible, more informed and more productive decision-making process," Hanson said.

Jason L. Hanson
Jason L. Hanson is a member of the research faculty at the Center of the American West.

In the report, the center takes no position either for or against oil shale production. Hanson noted that the project grew out of a Chevron-funded workshop, and that people involved in its preparation on all sides of the debate have praised its nonpartisan approach.

The world's largest supplies of oil shale, a layer of sedimentary rock that companies compress and refine into petroleum, lie trapped beneath the western slope of the Rockies in parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Colorado's last oil shale boom-and-bust cycle occurred in the early 1980s.

Oil shale lease in the Piceance Basin
Colorado's Rio Blanco County is home to Shell's Mahogany Research Project, an oil shale lease in the Piceance Basin.

Opponents of the process, which by some estimates will require massive amounts of water and energy, are concerned about environmental degradation. Supporters believe oil shale drilling is needed to bulk up the nation's supply of domestic energy resources as the world continues to deplete oil supplies.

"As a historian, I've read as much as I care to read and studied as much as I care to study about people acting in haste," Limerick said. "I really don't need more of that. So it was great for me to look at a situation where there is such a process of deliberation going on."

Bookmark - Print - Share