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Grand Junction Sentinel (Colorado): White River oil-shale mine to reopen in Utah

EXTRACT: Assistant Secretary of the Interior C. Stephen Allred said in the news release that OSEC’s research project, along with the five others being conducted in Colorado by Royal Dutch Shell, EGL Resources and Chevron, will allow the government to test its belief that oil shale can be developed economically and in an environmentally responsible way.

By BOBBY MAGILL The Daily Sentinel

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Bureau of Land Management on Monday gave its blessing to Oil Shale Exploration Co.’s plans to reopen the White River oil-shale mine in Utah about 20 miles west of Rangely.

The BLM approved the environmental assessment for the company’s multiphase, oil-shale research project at White River Mine, clearing the way for the agency to issue the sixth and final 160-acre oil-shale research and development lease. The other five leases have been issued to energy companies in Colorado.

OSEC’s lease is expected to be issued later this spring, BLM Utah State Director Selma Sierra said last month in Salt Lake City.

OSEC Chief Executive Dan Elcan could not be reached for comment, but he said at the Utah Energy Symposium in April that the company will use the “room and pillar” method of extracting oil shale at White River Mine, which shuttered in 1985.

In the first phase, oil shale already mined from the site will be sent to Canada to be processed in a surface retort originally developed for the processing of tar sands. The BLM will be able to determine from OSEC’s Canadian retorting operation whether spent shale at White River Mine would need to be isolated from the environment.

Later, the retort will be moved to the mine site.

Before OSEC’s project begins each phase, the company must submit to the BLM a detailed plan of operations and acquire all necessary local and federal permits, a BLM news release said.

Assistant Secretary of the Interior C. Stephen Allred said in the news release that OSEC’s research project, along with the five others being conducted in Colorado by Royal Dutch Shell, EGL Resources and Chevron, will allow the government to test its belief that oil shale can be developed economically and in an environmentally responsible way.

Cathy Kay of the Western Colorado Congress panned OSEC’s proposal.

“It’s just another process in this futile exploration of unconventional oils instead of looking at renewables,” she said.

Bobby Magill can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

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