Oil Shale Could Equal up to 100 Years of Oil Production for U.S.

oil shale Oil shale, a natural resource that is plentiful in the United States, could provide relief from high gas prices at the pump. Oil shale is a fine grained sedimentary rock found in major deposits all over the United States of America.

   Oil shale can be burned directly making it a useful energy source. Furthermore, this rock contains kerogen, a chemical that when heated in the absence of oxygen can produce a synthetic crude oil that can be used to produce gasoline.

   There are enough oil shale deposits in the U.S. to, when processed properly, produce enough oil to equal a one hundred year oil supply for the United States. President Bush is calling on Congress to allow the production of oil shale. However, Democrats in Congress are standing in the way of the bill to allow such production.

   Concerned about environmental issues, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted in May 2008 15-14 to kill a bill that would set forth rules regulating oil shale production in the U.S. This will, in turn, extend the moratorium to produce oil shale. Among environmental concerns are waste water management, land use, and air pollution.

Prices at the pump   In an interview conducted by CNN’s Fortune Magazine, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), one of the biggest supporters of oil shale production, stated, “We have as much oil in oil shale in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado as the rest of the world’s oil combined.” Senator Hatch also brought up the point that environmentalists oppose oil shale, but are happy with importing oil from overseas regardless of the fact that shipping the fuel all the way from the middle east leaves “a big greenhouse gas footprint”.

   One of the most prominent opponents of oil shale production is Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO). Although he states that he does not oppose the production of the natural resource in principle, he has voted and has indicated that he intends to continue to vote against the bill. Senator Salazar wants to slow the process down so that environmental concerns are sure to be taken into account first.

   President Bush continues to urge Congress to pass the bill. In a radio address to the nation broadcasted on June 21, 2008, President Bush mentioned the potential energy source as a way to increase domestic oil production and to bring gasoline prices down at the pump.


President Bush addresses the nation about oil prices and resources