We can hardly read a newspaper or watch television this summer without another story related to the drought, just yesterday the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that “tough water measures” are anticipated for 2013. Generations past knew this was an arid region, our farms, ranches, recreation and other economic drivers have relied on the Colorado River to sustain us.
This is why more than 100 individuals, business leaders, outdoor recreation organizations, farmers, ranchers, owners of wineries and breweries among others signed a letter asking the Bureau of Land Management to make smart decisions for oil shale development to protect our water today and for the future.
Within the letter, signers urged that:
“We have to be smart about oil shale, or we risk the future of Colorado’s farms and ranches, the ability of municipalities to meet water needs for Colorado families, or having enough water in our rivers for recreational uses such as fishing and rafting. We do not have to choose between energy production and meeting our water needs if we take the right approach.”
Facing our severe drought, they are not alone in wanting to ensure that water impacts are fully evaluated before any commercial development of oil shale ensues:
“The technology behind oil shale development is unproven and could pose an unacceptable risk to Colorado’s water. No one knows just how much water would be needed for oil shale or what the full potential threat to water quality is in our state” continues the letter.
What’s more is that oil shale companies already own the water rights they need to develop oil shale. Big oil companies have established conditional water rights throughout western Colorado that could potentially be used for oil shale. Rather than giving big oil access to our water, these signers aks that the oil shale industry first prove they can develop the resource in a way that does not pollute or drain our water supply. We, at CEC agree with these signers as we continue to work hard to protect the Colorado River, aptly dubbed the “lifeblood of the West.” We aim to protect the Coloradan way of life and encourage you to join us!