Sierra Club calls 3-state area ‘climate disrupter’
SALT LAKE CITY — The Sierra Club branded a geological formation that includes portions of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming as one of six “climate disrupter” regions in the country due to its potential for major fossil fuel development. The characterization comes in a report that one oil company called inaccurate.
The environmental organization, in the report titled “Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures,” says tar sands and shale oil development in the Green River Formation would eclipse any progress made by the Obama administration’s strict new fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, the Deseret News reported Friday.
The Sierra Club said developing just 10 percent of the shale oil in the three states would result in 48 billion tons of carbon dioxide — eight times more than would be saved by the new fuel standards.
Group spokesman Tim Wagner called on President Barack Obama to abandon his “all of the above” energy strategy, under which U.S. oil and gas production would increase along with attempts to reduce pollution. Wagner says the White House instead should pursue clean energy to help the country continue on its path of decreasing carbon monoxide emissions.
“We need to ramp this up dramatically, and we can do that,” he told the newspaper. “But as long as we have politicians, including this White House, who continue to say we need an all-of-the-above energy portfolio, we will never get to where we need to be in terms of this problem.”
Estonia-based Enefit issued a statement saying the report includes inaccuracies and mischaracterizations about the shale oil industry. The company has mineral rights to a large tract of land in Utah believed to contain 2.6 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil.
Enefit contends that carbon dioxide emissions from shale-oil-derived fuels are overblown and based on broad estimates. The company also claims water use in the process was misrepresented by the Sierra Club.
“Enefit realizes the Sierra Club is opposed to fossil fuel development and will never be a fan of oil shale projects like ours,” the company said. “We also realize that companies and groups on all sides present information in nuanced ways that speak to sympathetic audiences.
“At the same time, however, we believe in communicating as accurately and fairly as possible and we encourage the Sierra Club to do the same.”
The Sierra Club urged Obama to invoke a moratorium on any new development of coal, gas or oil on federal lands and to withdraw any federal lands that have been made available for shale oil and tar sands development.
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