You are here: home   Issues   From the ground up   The next boom: oil shale

The next boom: oil shale

Document Actions
Remnants of the nuclear frenzy that swept across the Colorado Plateau from the 1950s still scar the landscape, especially in the form of exploration roads carved into the wilderness. Bob Dawson’s image on the cover of your Sept. 4 issue reflects the fact that impacts on the built environment often fade more quickly than disruptions to the natural order.

Today, there are signs of a resurrected interest in another energy resource, oil shale, the same resource that initiated its own frenzy on Colorado’s Western Slope in the 1980s. If such development rises from the ashes of its predecessor, the "Uranium Drive-in" in your photo will become the "Oil Shale Drive-in," and there will be massive landscape changes including new cities, roads and congestion. Oil shale planning will soon make its presence blatantly apparent, and it will persist like no activity has before. The impacts of nuclear exploration and development will pale in comparison.

Martin J. Pasqualetti
Professor, School of Geographical Sciences
Arizona State University

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  2. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  3. Will the Colorado River reach the Gulf of California once more? | Photographs of last month's historic water pulses....
  4. Locals resist a Bakkenization of the Beartooths | South-central Montanans oppose new drilling, forew...
  5. Photos of a standoff | Armed militia members join a Nevada rancher to pro...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
 
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone