The Oil Shale Industry Destroying The Environment

Oil shale overview

Fracking, Oil Shale, no matter what it’s called it kills the planet. This is the result of that ordinary oil pumping has reached its end. And environmentalists has from time to time pointed towards various dangerous consequences of using this fracking technology, but none can be compared to the issue of radiation exposure and radioactive contamination of the development areas it poses.

UK government now plan to use fracking technology in populated areas of the country recently drew hundreds of people to the streets in protests.

Fracking Kills

“Environmental impact of the oil shale industry includes the consideration of issues such as land use, waste management, and water and air pollution caused by the extraction and processing of oil shale. Surface mining of oil shale deposits causes the usual environmental impacts of open-pit mining. In addition, the combustion and thermal processing generate waste material, which must be disposed of, and harmful atmospheric emissions, including carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Experimental in-situ conversion processes and carbon capture and storage technologies may reduce some of these concerns in future, but raise others, such as the pollution of groundwater”


Surface mining and in-situ processing requires extensive land use. Mining, processing and waste disposal require land to be withdrawn from traditional uses, and therefore should avoid high density population areas. Oil shale mining reduces the original ecosystem diversity with habitats supporting a variety of plants and animals. After mining the land has to be reclaimed. However, this process takes time and cannot necessarily re-establish the original biodiversity.

The impact of sub-surface mining on the surroundings will be less than for open-pit mines. However, sub-surface mining may also cause subsidence of the surface due to the collapse of mined-out area and abandoned stone drifts.

Disposal of mining wastes, spent oil shale (including semi-coke) and combustion ashes needs additional land use. According to the study of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, after processing, the waste material occupies a greater volume than the material extracted, and therefore cannot be wholly disposed underground. According to this, production of a barrel of shale oil can generate up to 1.5 tonnes of semi-coke, which may occupy up to 25% greater volume than the original shale. This is not confirmed by the results of Estonia’s oil shale industry. The mining and processing of about one billion tonnes of oil shale in Estonia has created about 360-370 million tonnes of solid waste, of which 90 million tonnes is a mining waste, 70–80 million tonnes is a semi-coke, and 200 million tonnes are combustion ashes.

The waste material may consist of several pollutants including sulfates, heavy metals, and polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which are toxic and carcinogenic.To avoid contamination of the groundwater, the solid waste from the thermal treatment process is disposed in an open dump (landfill or “heaps”), not underground. As semi-coke consists of, in addition to minerals, up to 10% organics that may pose hazard to the environment owing to leaching of toxic compounds as well as to the possibility of self-ignition.

NRDC Natural Resources Defence Council

So as we can see and understand, this is not only a very dirty way to produce oil, it’s also extremely dirty and harmful to the environment. The good thou is that this time it’s not the US who’s the only villain in this. Because in a new report, from the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) warns about the dangers of producing transportation fuel from oil shale, a crude oil alternative which has NOT YET been commercially developed in the United States. The study, Driving It Home: Choosing the Right Path for Fuelling North America’s Transportation Future, explores the economic viability and potential environmental impacts of extracting oil from shale and presents a range of other energy and policy options. Written in conjunction with Western Resources Advocates and the Pembina Institute, the report also focuses on the implications of developing transport fuel from two other controversial sources: tar sands and coal.

“The process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting, at high pressure, water blended with chemicals such as benzene and xylene. This chemical mix is then used to blast apart the shale rock to release oil or gas. The method creates wastewater which is generally stored in pits near the operating well site”

The only thing is that the US is using the method called fracking, and at least in my world I can’t see the difference between the two when it comes to killing the Earth. And I have no idea why they have different names? But the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 has required the Department of Interior to promote research and development of oil shale resources and to establish a commercial leasing program, accelerating the potential commercialization of the fuel source. So eventually this will be used even by the United States. If not already.

“The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has raised doubts about its common future with US shale oil. After Congress lifted the oil export ban last December, the US is expected to boost crude production dramatically”

“Shale oil in the United States, I don’t know how we are going to live together,” said OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri, speaking at the IHS Energy CERAWeek conference”

A recent report from Stanford University study states that fracking pollutes underground drinking water. Using publicly available data and reports, researchers found organic compounds used in hydraulic fracturing were migrating into groundwater from unlined pits.

“This is a wake-up call,” said lead author Dominic DiGiulio, a visiting scholar at the Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences in a released statement. “It’s perfectly legal to inject stimulation fluids into underground drinking water resources. This may be causing widespread impacts on drinking water resources.”

And in a recent Gallup Poll more than half of Americans are opposed to fracking in pursuit of oil and gas, according to the new Gallup poll. The results come amid mounting concerns about the links between fracking and earthquakes and groundwater pollution.

Asked whether they favoured or opposed hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a means of increasing the production of natural gas or oil in the US, 36 percent of respondents said they were in favour, while 51 percent said they were opposed and 13 percent had no opinion, according to the new Gallup poll released on Wednesday.

This has to be stopped. Their greedy brains do NOT function any-more in a rational sound way. They ONLY see profits. They don’t care about the after-effects from this dirty work.

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