Printed letters, May 18, 2011

Thank you to The Daily Sentinel for the thoughtful analysis of the current situation of our problematic resource, oil shale. An additional component for maximizing the resource could be by-product research.

Recent discussions have pointed out the potential profitability of by-products in the shale deposits. In addition to the recognized sodium carbonate and aluminum minerals in shale, metals including rare earths have been identified in shales, the recovery of which could equal the energy value. Asphalt, ammonia and cement are other potential by-products.

Pretreatment of shale rock could define the best methods for recovering the valuable by-products. Earlier work has shown that separation of carbonates from kerogen prior to retorting enhances oil production. Interestingly, such separation has potential to reduce any carbon footprint of shale oil production.

In contrast to the BLM’s emphasis on leasing issues while assuming private energy companies will come up with profitable schemes, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Lab has been sponsoring oil shale research at such institutions as Colorado School of Mines and the University of Utah. I have suggested for years that such research be expanded into issues such as discussed herein.

I recommend that appropriate DOE contracts be arranged with perhaps Mesa State College or Montana Tech. Mesa State is certainly in the center of Green River shale deposits. Montana Tech has recognized skills in mining, mineral dressing and metal extraction and is located in oil shale lands. My recommendations are based on the fact that both of these institutions contributed significantly to my personal knowledge and success.


Grand Junction

If torture works, why stop with terror suspects?

Pardon me, but after reading Rick Wagner and Josh Penry’s defense of “enhanced interrogation” of political prisoners, I am left with a few questions.

First, if torture — and let’s call it what it really is, which is torture — is so effective, why did one guy have to be waterboarded 180 times to get any useful information, and why wasn’t that info acted upon and bin Laden found and executed long ago?

Second, if torture is an OK way of treating prisoners, why stop at political prisoners? Just think how much time and money could be saved if we did away with criminal investigations and trials and sent suspects directly to prison for the rest of their lives, like we’ve done with some in Guantanamo. Fox News would love it. And conservative voters would approve if they were told it saved on taxes.

Heck, for that matter, we could do away with some whole categories of crime; crimes like spousal abuse and child abuse (I wasn’t beating them, your honor. I was just using enhanced interrogation to get them to admit what liars they were.)

Oh, how great it would be if we didn’t have to be a nation of laws. Then we could just hire some lawyer-types to interpret everything for us about what’s right and what’s wrong, because, like beauty, it is all in the eyes of the beholder you know.



Obama team releases only info it deems suitable

I find it interesting that within 100 hours or so of the bin Laden raid, the Obama administration was able to get news out about most of the details, even though everyone involved understood that this was highly classified and was not to be released or leaked to the public.

The world now knows which SEAL team did the job, how many were involved, the loss of a helicopter and even that bin Laden was dead. It also produced a picture of the administration “team” that attended the viewing of the incident, which, I am sure, has immediately put a target on all of them.

All this in 100 hours, and yet they were able to keep from the public his birth certificate for 2 1/2 years. I guess it’s just a matter of priorities.


Grand Junction


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