Printed letters, November 4, 2012

Oil shale proponents are claiming that trillions of barrels of oil are available in the public lands of the American West in the form of oil shale. That is reason enough, they say, to lease those lands for extracting the oil, even if scarce water is diverted to the use, there is ecological damage and wildlife habitat is sacrificed.

The fatal flaw in the argument is that, because oil shale is actually about 19 parts non-energy bearing rock to only 1 part energy-bearing kerogen (the parent of kerosene) and all must be heated to release the energy, the losses in energy exceed the gain.

So, the more you exploit oil shale, the worse it gets. The trillions of barrels of oil may be there, but it will take quadrillions of “barrels”— or the equivalent —  of alternative energy to bring the energy to public use.


Grand Junction

Leading expert right that
federal action is ‘punitive’

Dr. Jeremy Boak, the foremost expert on oil shale in Colorado, is dead on when he characterizes the Obama administration’s approach to oil shale as “punitive.”

By removing from consideration for potential leasing not only the majority of the land under which oil shale is located, but also — as Gary Harmon recently reported — some existing research and development land, the BLM is clearly advancing an anti-oil shale agenda.

Far from being a “giveaway” to the oil shale industry, the 2 million acres identified by the Bush-era study were merely made available for lease application, putting the oil shale industry on the same footing as any other potential user of the land.

The BLM’s approach to oil shale seems somewhat ironic, since just last month, the president tried mightily on national television to paint himself and his energy policies as being truly “all the above” and encouraging of domestic oil production.

This story demonstrates that, in fact, this administration is intent on doing all that it can to arbitrarily restrict and discourage a promising, prolific domestic energy source.

Meanwhile, this same administration is demonstrably eager to commit billions of taxpayer dollars to other developmental energies such as solar and wind — whose leading entrepreneurs happen to be great contributors to President Obama’s re-election campaign fund.

This hardly seems like an even-handed, “all the above” approach to energy development. It seems more like the president playing politics with our region’s economy and our nation’s energy future.


Grand Junction


Meteorite community vigilant 
about claims such as Curry’s

I am personally a little bothered and worried about what I saw at the sentencing of Steven Curry for his fraud convictions.

His supporters seem to be completely inflamed with greed and seem to hold me personally responsible for their not realizing their “incredible riches” (believing that I am the “gatekeeper” for what can be officially recognized as a meteorite somehow).

Curry and friends believe that there is a grand conspiracy by the meteorite world to keep his material from the market.

This part is actually true to some extent. The meteorite community is rather small, and we do keep an eye out for and try to eliminate fraud when we see it. However, there never has been nor will there ever be a “conspiracy” to keep new (genuine) meteorites from the market.

A simple analogy of the situation is to imagine a person picking up a used tray liner from a fast food restaurant. The “Printed by Am. Liner Co” is ketchup-smeared to now only show P … o. This “finder” through his “research” decides he has really discovered a long-lost Picasso and says, “I am rich!”

Upon showing it to all of the art dealers, collectors and experts, however, he finds that they all have the same basic response: “This is certainly NOT a Picasso and, frankly, looks like a tray liner to us.”

Now, is this situation a conspiracy on the part of the art community or simply knowledgeable people calling it as they see it?

Regardless of irresponsible media coverage (TV news and at least one newspaper — not The Daily Sentinel) hinting otherwise the past couple of years, fake is still fake.

Curry’s “meteorites” contained no nickel (even by his own XRF analysis data) whereas genuine plessitic irons have 9 to 18 percent (simple textbook data, not opinion or subject to interpretation).

Nonetheless, Curry insists on dragging this onward with a legal appeal, needlessly wasting additional time and resources.




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