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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 10, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Oil-shale extraction

Don’t rush it

Claims that the oil-shale industry is ready to develop are premature, as the industry does not yet even exist [“Rules set up for oil-shale extraction on federal land,” Politics, Nov. 17].

As a resident of oil-shale country, I believe your readers deserve to know the truth about how their water could be affected by the oil-shale processes.

Water experts, elected officials and the Bureau of Land Management agree that oil shale requires vast amounts of water.

Meanwhile, water supplies in the West are projected to decline, while demands for agriculture and human use are expected to increase dramatically.

Oil-shale projects would draw on this same source that is already stretched to support 25 million people in seven Western states and Mexico.

The people of the West must be made fully aware of oil shale’s risks to dwindling water supplies. Until we see details from the industry as to how it will protect our water, the industry must not be rushed forward recklessly.

— Steve Smith, Glenwood Springs, Colo.

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