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Scrapbook: Stopping the Shell Oil Water Grab

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

March 12, 2009

Stopping the Shell Oil Water Grab

Smallmouth bass2 In a major water use case, the Sierra Club is fighting against a request from Shell Oil to use water from the Yampa River in dirty oil shale development. Working as part of a coalition with Trout Unlimited, the Division of Wildlife, the Park Service, ranchers and many others to stop this water grab, the Club and its allies have filed statements of opposition in Colorado Water Court to block Shell’s request.

Shell’s plan calls for diverting nearly one-tenth of the Yampa River’s water into a massive reservoir where it would be used in the development of oil shale. The Yampa River is one of the finest Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike fisheries in the United States.

"It takes three barrels of water to produce a single barrel of oil from shale," said Sierra Club representative Eric Huber, who is helping lead the fight. In Colorado alone, oil shale development could consume more water than the Denver Metro area, home to over 2 million people.

"Communities, ranchers, fish and wildlife all rely on the Yampa River. It doesn’t make sense to hand over our scarce water just so an oil company can squander it on a pipe dream like oil shale," continued Huber.

With 25 government agencies, businesses, and conservation groups sending opposition letters, it’s clear Huber’s sentiments are shared.

photo: USFWS

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