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Enviro ignorance
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In "Oil Shale: Taking time to do the research" (Opinion, April 18), had Erika Pollard taken the time she would have learned the differences between oil shale, algae diesel, tar sands shale oil, shale gas and fracking.

Like most environmentalists, she obfuscates the issues by lumping all carbon fuels and their sources as an amorphous group of fuels. Algae diesel is at best "carbon neutral," and oil shale produced without carbon dioxide emissions, too, is "carbon neutral." One cannot support new algae diesel and dismiss diesel from oil shale; both are "carbon neutral."

Environmentalists also confuse the issues by lumping oil shale (no contact with water, in the Paraho process) with tar sands (where the sand particles are separated from the bitumen with steam). And they group Arches National Park, which is upwind of oil shale processing in Colorado, with lands downwind of oil shale processing.

And since when did environmentalists worry about the economic feasibility of a given process, except as a means to defeat environmentally clean processes? Environmentalists should stick to protecting the environment.

Ray Ridge

Salt Lake City

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