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I think your use of "obliterated" is hyperbolic.

I disagree. As a natural area, it is indeed obliterated.

You could also argue that the feds "obliterated" a lot of land in paving the roads into and within Bryce, Zion, Capital Reef.....

Yes, you could argue that but it would be a specious and irrelevent argument.

The ratio of land altered in order to gain access would decrease in proportion to the developed land if the operation were to go commercial. It was an experiment so your concern on that front is also a bit exagerated.

While true, again completely specious and therefore total BS. As the actual amount of land used to drill holes which will indeed, and I think no one could argue, completely OBLITERATE the land for all natural purposes, the ratio of land used for roads, etc, gets smaller - SO WHAT? I was just pointing out that the article was completely misleading BS, and you offered no real argument to dispute that.

I'm also sure that Shell didnt pay anyone to sit around and 'twiddle his thumbs'.

I didn't say that they did. That was an example, as in metaphor which apparently escaped you. The point is that the experiment on its face, based on the reported information, no where near supports the idea that this process is profitable at $30/barrel.

I'd be surprised if a human was on-site more than once/wk and I'd bet the time on-site for each visit was on the order of minutes to few hours.

Talk about exageration - I'd be surprised if a fewer than 10 people were assigned to this experiment as their sole job. And I'd be very surprised if the infrastructure and equipment and PR expense was not in the 10s of millions of $$$ at least. I'd also be surprised if it was not largely taxpayer subsidized.

However, the resource is substantial. At 1 billion barrels/sq mile the US is sitting on the equivalent of several 'elephant' oil fields.

I am well aware of the estimates of oil available from oil rock in these fields. I am also well aware that obtaining this oil will be an absolute environmental disaster, and that is no exageration. I do not support destroying (and THAT is also no exageration) public land in this way. (I know they used Shell owned land for the experiment but the article spoke of leasing land from the BLM.)

However, given Big Oil's powerful lobbies, I fully expect that governments will continue to foolishly subsidize this activity and tar sand activity and extraction of oil from coal and that significant portions of the upper midwest and the province of Alberta and other places will be eventually be converted to toxic wastelands so that oil company executives can remain billionaires while the great unwashed masses will STILL eventually pay $10/gallon of reg unleaded.

The POINT is that OIL IS NOT the future. Oil is the past. As I said, which you ignored, if we focused our "energies" toward making each person energy independent via a combination of solar, wind, and fuel cell technology, we could do that. Your comment that solar and wind power could be used in oil from shale extraction misses the point to an unbelievable degree. BUT making solar panels and wind generators and fuel cells affordable for residential application would kill the profits of Big Oil, so we are instead subsidizing the rape of the earth for the last few drops of the stuff, whatever the costs to future generations.

Where I spent much of my childhood, near the old oil fields of East Texas, many of the creeks still flow water that is too saline to support fish, a result of the forcing brine into oil wells 75 years ago One of the creeks forms part of Lake Striker which makes the lake too saline to support a normal level of fish. Oil shale and oil tar extraction is many times more destructive than that. I'm sure we haven't been told anywhere near the whole story. Again, the article is complete BS.
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