A close review of economic data reveals that potential economic benefits of oil shale are far different than what proponents claim.

Is oil shale economically viable? Even the federal government doesn’t know. A close review of economic data reveals that potential economic benefits of oil shale are are far different than what proponents claim.

The federal government has a poor understanding of the economic and socioeconomic impacts of commercial oil shale development. Despite the Department of the Interior’s attempt to address the information deficit through the federal RD&D program, there are inextricable questions that need to be answered regarding how industrial scale oil shale operations would impact the region and the nation – questions that cannot be answered by the current scale of research.

More research is needed, including:

  • updating current employment data
  • quantifying impacts to water supply
  • understanding demographic shifts since the 1982 oil shale bust
  • comparing oil shale development to alternative energy sources

Published: 2010

Publication Category: Western Lands


States: Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Montana

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