Controversy over oil shale development on the Western Slope is coming to light, just a week after the Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale group made a big announcement in Grand Junction.
Now, the Colorado Checks and Balances is saying the group misled the public. The project says not only are the numbers that ECCOS presented last week wrong, but water on the Western Slope could be at risk if oil shale development continues.
The Checks and Balances project is a government watch dog group that keeps an eye on issues with oil and gas on public lands.
After last weeks announcement from ECCOS, the group looked into the responses the BLM received and now they're saying the people want a smarter approach to oil shale development in western Colorado.
“The truth of the matter is that the majority of comments that the BLM received were either in favor of the BLM taking a fresh look, supporting the BLM plan, supporting a plan stronger than the blm plan or supporting a research first approach to oil shale,” co-director of the Checks and Balances project Matthew Garrington said.
“We are comfortable with our numbers, we stand by our numbers, we're confident in our numbers,” ECCOS executive director Brad McCloud said in a phone interview.
Oil shale is a rock found in parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The rock has to be heated to 700 degrees for an extended period to get the oil from the rock. This type of extraction requires a lot of energy and water.
Another issue over oil shale development is whether or not it will create jobs. The Checks and Balances project says melting oil shale won't create more jobs locally, but ECCOS says if you have an expanding business more people will be needed.