Shell’s Plan for Oil Shale Water Faces Stiff Opposition

  • Published on March 10th, 2009

yampa river, colorado

Shell Oil’s plan to acquire a junior water right for an 8% stake of Colorado’s Yampa River average April-to-June flow for oil shale development has been opposed by some twenty-five parties, all submitting letters of opposition to the District 6 Colorado Water Court in Steamboat Springs.

Among those opposing the plan were a bevy of federal, state, and local governmental agencies, a coal company, and several environmental organizations.

“Colorado’s future is the issue here,” said Roger Singer, the Sierra Club’s western regional representative, in a statement. “Do we commit this dwindling resource to energy development?”

The Yampa River is the only river left in Colorado with unappropriated water.

Shell’s plan would divert up to 375 feet per second in spring runoff months and pump the water into a new 1,000 acre, 15 billion gallon reservoir. But the viability of oil shale development in the west depends on water and energy – energy that would most likely be provided by new coal-fired generation

Shell’s application and the opposition letters will be reviewed by the water court, a process that could take up to a year and a half, considering the high number of dissenters.

Image: CC Licensed by s_medgah at flickr

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.

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