Oil Shale Economics Executive Summary

Oil Shale Economics

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

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