Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oil Shale Development in the West and You, Pt III

In an encouraging sign, the Gov't accountability office has issued a report questioning the water use issues surrounding oil shale development in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. It is good that someone is finally asking the right questions, rather than simply giving away the leases like the Bush administration did. The original article can be found here.

GAO: More research needed on oil shale, water

DENVER -- Scarce water resources could limit the growth of oil shale development in the West, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Monday.

Oil shale deposits in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming hold an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil, but companies are still trying to find commercially viable ways to extract it.

Oil shale development could have "significant" impacts on water quality and availability, but the exact effects are unclear, partly because what's known about current water conditions is limited and processes for extracting oil are still being researched, the GAO said.

The GAO urged the Interior Department to figure out the baseline conditions for water resources in the Piceance and Uintah Basins in Colorado and Utah and to coordinate research by other agencies. It also recommended modeling regional groundwater movement to help understand how possible contaminants from oil shale development might travel.

Past studies indicate one to 12 barrels of water, or up to about 500 gallons, may be needed to produce a barrel of oil, though the average for in-situ oil shale production is estimated at five barrels of water, the report said.

Climate change, increasing demand for water from cities and industry, interstate water compacts, and needs of threatened and endangered species in the West all could limit how much water is available for oil shale development, the GAO said.

Based on the average estimates of water use, the oil shale industry might need more water per year than is used by the Denver metro area annually, said David Abelson, oil shale policy adviser for the conservation group Western Resource Advocates.

"There's going to be less and less new water to appropriate. Use conflicts throughout Colorado, throughout Utah, are only going to increase," Abelson said. "The question is, where is the water going to come from and at what expense."

Company representatives with oil shale interests said they were confident they have enough water rights or could obtain them to support at least initial operations, the GAO report said.

Colorado officials said companies can apply for additional water rights in the Piceance Basin, and Utah officials said companies could buy water rights from other users.

AuraSource Inc. Chief Financial Officer Eric Stoppenhagen said different processes for extracting petroleum from oil shale use different amounts of water. He declined to discuss his company's water resources but said it is something it will address as it applies for an oil shale research lease with the Bureau of Land Management for land in Uintah County, Utah.

"The overdevelopment of any resource can lead to environmental problems," he said in an e-mail. "This is a concern of ours as well as of state and federal governments, local landowners and agriculture. The process instituted by the BLM addresses the concern over the impact on the quality and quantity of water resources." He said his company would work with stakeholders to address environmental concerns.

Bob Elderkin, speaking for the Colorado Wildlife Federation, said oil shale research from the 1970s shows that impacts on water quality remain a concern.

"We should understand what the impacts on water quality are before we even consider the idea of commercially developing oil shale," Abelson said.

On the Web:

GAO report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1135.pdf

Monday, November 15, 2010

Something amiss in Viking Land.

Well, the inability to convert 3rd downs, or do-or-die 4th downs, the persistent failure to stop anyone on 3rd & long, or just 3rd down, and special teams thinking that 32 yards is fair for an opponents punt or kick return brought a mournful end to the vikings playoffs hopes yesterday. ouch. Green Bay at the dome next week, and I'm not looking forward to it. A nice 35 to 7 victory at any point this season would be nice. These last minute nail-biters are painful. Oh well. next year.

Monday, November 8, 2010


My feed of the game died at 4:39 in the 4th, and I spent the afternoon lamenting the 2010 season for the poor Vikes. It turns out that they didn't quit, and it's back on. Go Vikes!

From NFL.com...

MINNEAPOLIS -- Even Brett Favre thought the Minnesota Vikings were done -- for the game, and quite possibly the season.

Down 14 with less than five minutes to play against Arizona. Chants of "Fire Childress!" filling the Metrodome. A Super Bowl-or-bust season on the brink.

Favre has banner day
Vikings QB Brett Favre has accomplished just about everything in the NFL, but he did something Sunday he had never done in his career. Find out what it was in our milestone tracker.

» Vote: Should Favre make the Pro Bowl?

Suddenly, Favre conjured the kind of magic that simply hasn't been there all season, engineering another jaw-dropping fourth-quarter comeback that may have not only saved the Vikings' season, but coach Brad Childress' job as well.

Favre threw for a career-high 446 yards to rally the Vikings from 14 points down in the final four and half minutes and Ryan Longwell's 35-yard field goal in overtime lifted them to a 27-24 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday.

"There was a point in that game where I think everyone in the building thought this is not going well. We don't stand a chance," said Favre, who has 46 career fourth-quarter comeback wins. "But we did."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Peter Rowan in Durango!!

Panama Red, live and in person at the Durango Performing Arts center on Halloween night. I couldn't believe it. The show was a benefit for the Tara Mandala Buddhist center in Pagosa Springs. Rowan crushed! Two songs I had never heard, and a bunch of classics. Opening the show were local favorites, Wild Mountain, shown here with Red, kicking ass. I had a blast, and multiple times declared it the best Peter Rowan performance I have seen.


Halloween! Look at the scary doodle with his fancy Purple Monkey costume on and the Mad Scientist!

Towelie!!! Brett Favre & Lil' Lorenzo, The mad scientist, and momma to be!
Also at this party was a dude dressed in the part of Robert Goulet. I'm still laughing about that one.