The Tavaputs Plateau a legacy of failed extreme energy schemes

tar sands and oil shale failures

Utah projects
In Utah, six oil shale projects were planned that progressed to various stages of development. The six projects are described below (DOE 1981). From 1954 through 1990, several companies and governmental agencies drilled at least 200 oil shale exploration wells in the Uinta Basin and conducted Fischer assays on the oil shale core samples. In addition to the core samples, the USGS had an oil shale program from the late 1950s through the 1970s that collected cutting samples from more than 400 oil and gas wells penetrating the oil shale −bearing portion of the Green River Formation. Fischer assays also were conducted on those samples. Data on the thickness, depth, and Fischer assay information exist for the oil shale interval in the Parachute Creek Member of the Green River Formation from more than 600 wells spread across the Uinta Basin, but mainly from the southeastern quarter of the basin.

Geokinetics, Inc ., was originally organized in 1969 as a minerals development company; it was reorganized in 1972 as a joint venture with a group of independent oil companies to develop an in situ technique to extract shale oil. The company began design and cost studies of a horizontal modified in situ process in preparation for the anticipated Federal Prototype Oil Shale Lease Program sale. Small-scale pilot tests in steel retorts were carried out to simulate the horizontal process in 1974 and early 1975. Starting in April 1975, field tests of the in situ method were carried out, and by late 1976 the basic parameters for an in situ process were established. From 1977 through 1979, the process was scaled up substantially from early tests, and rock-breaking designs for the underground retorts were improved and tested. From 1980 through 1982, Geokinetics, funded in part by DOE, blasted 24 experimental underground retorts and tested them. These tests cumulatively produced 15,000 bbl of oil. By 1982, the company had settled on a 2,000-bbl/day design for its commercial retort and had acquired 30,000 acres of nonfederal leases, with an estimated resource of 1.7 million bbl of oil (averaging 20 gal/ton). Final OSTS PEIS A-20 Between 1972 and 1982, the company drilled at least 32 core holes on its leases in the Uinta Basin and conducted Fischer assays on oil shale samples from those wells.

Magic Circle Energy Corporation acquired the 76,000 acres of State of Utah leases composing the Cottonwood Wash properties from the Western Oil Shale Corporation in July 1980 through an exchange of stock. The Cottonwood Wash properties contained an estimated 2.1 billion bbl of oil with a grade in excess of 15 gal/ton, and at a depth between 1,500 and 2,000 ft. Magic Circle spent more than $1 million to perform feasibility studies, initiate permit applications, and perform initial coring for resource definition, mine design, and environmental evaluation, but no mine or plant construction or oil shale production took place on this project.

Paraho Development Corporation was organized in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1971, to develop oil shale technology. The company acquired leases along the White River in Utah near the border with Colorado, but no work was performed on the property. The company conducted several retort research projects in Colorado with several other industry partners to achieve an oil recovery averaging 90% of the in-place oil. On the basis of this research, the company was contract ed by DOE to produce 100,000 bbl of shale oil. Paraho used the Anvil Points facility to conduct a 105-day continuous-stream operation in the late 1970s that produced the contracted amount of shale oil with 96% oil yields. The oil market deteriorated before a commercial plant could be permitted and built on the Utah leases.

Syntana-Utah was a joint venture of the Synthetic Oil Corporation and Quintana Minerals Corporation that was formed in late 1980. This venture acquired a State of Utah lease on Section 16, T9S, R25E, on which it planned to construct an underground mine and surface retort operation that could produce 24,500 tons/day of 25 gal/ton oil shale. Limited effort was spent identifying the depth, thickness, and grade of the oil shale to quantify the oil shale resource on the lease. Two, and perhaps more, drill holes were completed on the property to facilitate mine and retort engineering design.

TOSCO Development Corporation acquired 29 separate State of Utah oil shale leases totalling 14,688 acres of land about 35 mi south of Vernal, Utah. These leases were generally located in T9S and T10S, and R21E and R22E. Between 1977 and 1981, TOSCO drilled eight or more core holes to help define the oil shale resource and to initiate basic actions leading to a site-specific EIS for a 66,000-ton/day mine with a production capacity of 47,000 bbl/day employing multiple TOSCO II retort facilities. Subsequent deterioration of oil prices led to the cancellation of the project before final permitting and construction began. Final OSTS PEIS

White River Shale Oil Corporation (WRSOC) was a joint venture of three major oil companies: Phillips, Sohio, and Sunoco. Sunoco and Phillips were the successful bidders for the 5,120 acres composing the U-a federal lease tract that sold for $75.6 million at the 1974 Federal Prototype Oil Shale Lease Program sale. Shortly after the first sale, Sohio joined the venture and the WRSOC was formed. In 1975, the group paid an additional $45.1 million and acquired the 5,120-acre U-b tract that was adjacent to the U-a tract. Between 1974 and 1976, the WRSOC drilled 18 wells on its leases and created a detailed development plan that was submitted to the federal government in mid-1976. The development plan called for a 179,000-ton/day mine that would be supported by a 100,000-bbl/day surface retort at full commercial operation. Later that year, the leases were suspended because of environmental and land title issues and remained suspended until the early 1980s. Once these issues were resolved, the venture ultimately constructed mine service buildings, water and sewage treatment plants, and a 1,000-ft-deep vertical shaft and inclin ed haulage way to the high-grade Mahogany Zone of oil shale. Several tens of thousands of tons of oil shale were extracted to test mining conditions and retort technology and economics. The project was abandoned before commercial operations were achieved when market conditions deteriorated in the mid-1980s.
Although the six Utah oil shale projects reached various stages of completion during the late 1970s and 1980s, none were able to reach commercial operation. Both mining with surface retort and in situ recovery methods of shale oil were investigated in Utah. The legacy of the surge of interest in oil shale development in the late 1970s and early 1980s is a wealth of resource, engineering, and baseline environmental data that will be useful in future efforts to develop oil shale resources.

list of failed projects in colorado:
ARCO in colorado
occidental oil at Logan Wash
union oil of california parachute creek plant in colorado project
the Colony project: After spending more than $1 billion, Exxon announced on May 2, 1982, that it was closing the project and laying off 2,200 workers. No shale oil was ever produced commercially
Gulf Oil Company and Standard Oil Company of Indiana formed the Rio Blanco shale company to mine Piceance Creek Basin they failed in 1984
TRW, Inc.’s Naval Oil Shale Reserves (NOSR) Project was conducted under the direction of the Secretary of Energy and included three sections of land known as NOSR 1, 2, and 3. NOSR 1 and 3 were located in Colorado and NOSR 2 was located in Utah.
Multi Minerals Corporation (MMC) , a subsidiary of the Charter Company, signed an agreement in April 1979 to operate a U.S. Bureau of Mines research tract known as Horse Draw. The site was closed in the late 1980s.
Equity Oil Company and DOE launched a project known as the BX In Situ Oil Shale Project in 1977
In the 1970s, Chevron and Texaco participated in a consortium of companies that supported the Paraho Oil Shale Project at the Anvil Points facility, west of Rifle, Colorado. n 1981, Chevron Shale Oil Company and Conoco Shale Oil, Inc., began the Clear Creek project on a 25,000-acre tract of private land north of DeBeque. A 350-ton/day retort was constructed and successfully tested at the Chevron refinery near Salt Lake City, Utah. Crushed rock was moved to the retort by rail. A small amount of shale oil was produced, but because of the drop in oil prices, mine construction was halted in 1984. The commercial phase of the project was not reached, and the mine has remained closed.

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UTSR gains first free expression permit of 2018.

As our first action of the new year we will attend SITLA’s monthly meeting at 9 am thursday january 4  and then we will have our free expression event with banners and protest tents at the SITLA retreat located at the Falls event center at 600 east and 600 south from 12-3:30. We will be setting up at 11 am.

Salt lake City provides this document with interesting information about free speech.

Free Expression Definitions – SLC Free Expression Activity Permit Application
QUICK REFERENCE: First Amendment
Public Safety
Expressive Conduct
Fighting Words
Risk of Violence
1. The First Amendment’s guarantee of the right of free expression is a fundamental element of our democratic system of government. However, that right of free expression is not absolute. Some kinds of speech, such as obscenity, defamation, and fighting words, are not protected by the First Amendment. In addition, to further significant governmental interests, the government may regulate the time, place, and manner of the exercise of protected speech rights. An example of a “time” regulation is an ordinance banning loud noises in residential areas
during the night. An example of a “place” regulation is a requirement that parades not be held on certain busy streets. An example of a “manner” regulation is a restriction on the size of signs carried by picketers. The government cannot impose speech restrictions simply because it disagrees with the message of the speaker. In other words, government regulation of speech must be “content neutral.”
Furthermore, a time, place, or manner regulation must advance a significant
governmental interest, not restrict more speech than necessary to further that interest, and leave speakers with an ample alternative means to express them.

2. The City has a significant and compelling interest in maintaining the safety of people on streets and sidewalks. That interest sometimes justifies restrictions on speech rights. For example, the City can pass laws making it illegal to stand in the middle of the street, or to block pedestrians on sidewalks. Those laws are valid, even when enforced against a person who wants to speak in that street or on that sidewalk. The City may also establish temporary regulations for a specific event to address the particular public safety concerns related to that event. For example, a particular event may generate much heavier pedestrian traffic than normal. Furthermore, the police have a duty to protect people exercising their free speech rights from violence aimed at them by a hostile audience.

3. Protected expression is not limited to the spoken or written word. People may communicate a message through expressive conduct, such as wearing an armband, or burning the United States flag, a draft card, or an effigy. A person’s conduct is expressive if he or she intends to convey a particularized message, and
if it is very likely that people viewing the conduct will understand the message. Any
government attempt to restrict such expressive conduct must be unrelated to the suppression of free speech. For example, the government could validly pass a law making it illegal to burn anything (including the American flag) in a particular place due to the fire hazard. Such a law is not aimed at speech, but rather at public safety. On the other hand, the government cannot validly ban the burning of the flag simply because it believes that burning the flag is unpatriotic. Based on those principles, courts have held that many instances of expressive conduct were
protected, even though the conduct ridiculed government or religious leaders, religious beliefs, or otherwise seriously offended many people.

4. As noted above, “fighting words” are not protected by the First Amendment, so the government can treat them as disorderly conduct or a breach of the peace. Fighting words are defined as personal insults: (1) directed at a particular person or small group of people, (2) inherently likely to create a violent reaction, and (3) that play no role in the expression of ideas. It is not enough that the words are very insulting or highly offensive or arouse some people to anger. Also, words are not fighting words if they are spoken to a crowd. Listeners are expected to turn their heads and ignore such speech. Whether particular speech constitutes fighting words depends on the circumstances of the situation. However, even when speech is extremely annoying or offensive to listeners, courts have been very tolerant and protective of such speech. In one case, a door-to-door missionary played for two men a recording that attacked the men’s religion. The men became incensed
and were tempted to strike the missionary. The United States Supreme Court held that the missionary’s speech (the recording) was not fighting words. Expressive conduct is also subject to the fighting words analysis. As with traditional speech,
however, courts are very protective of such symbolic speech. For example, the United States Supreme Court held that a law was unconstitutional that made it illegal to “desecrate a venerated object” such as a flag, if the desecrator knew it would seriously offend observers. The court overturned the conviction of a man who burned an American flag in protest. Similarly, courts have held that the display, ridicule, and even burning of effigies of public figures do not amount to fighting words. However, there are limits. In a recent case a group of protesters formed a semicircle around a woman and for six minutes shouted at her that she was “a whore, harlot, and Jezebel.” A court held that those were fighting words under the circumstances. Notably, the words were directed specifically at the woman.

5. Speakers in a speech event have a constitutional right not to have their message interfered with by other speakers. A physical intrusion is such an unconstitutional interference. For example, the sponsor of a private parade cannot be forced to allow in the parade a float that communicates a message with which the sponsors disagree. Also, if a group reserved public space for a silent candlelight vigil, it would be improper for the government to grant a rock band a permit to hold a concert right next to the vigil. Such interference could also include stalking a speaker in an intimidating way or trying to block his sign with an even larger sign. Depending on the location and the circumstances, heckling or shouting down of a speaker may constitute an infringement on that speaker’s free speech rights. The government is justified in restricting speech aimed at unwilling listeners if the listeners are a “captive audience,” meaning they cannot conveniently avoid the speech by turning their heads or walking away. Under this principle, courts have upheld laws requiring protesters to keep their volume down near hospitals, courthouses, and private residences, in order not to disturb people in those private places. Courts have also upheld bans on demonstrators entering into churches without consent, but courts generally have not upheld efforts to prohibit protesters from demonstrating on the sidewalk in front of places of worship (except to the
extent protesters block access to the church or their noise penetrates into the church).

6. The United States Supreme Court has said of the risk of violence: “A function of free speech . . . is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with the conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging.”
It is true that listeners sometimes dislike the message of a speaker, lose their temper, and become violent. However, in such situations the speakers retain their constitutional right to speak (short of “fighting words”), and it is the duty of the police to protect the speakers and deal with the violent listeners. Courts reject a “heckler’s veto” that would silence a speaker because of a hostile audience reaction. On rare occasions, the government may have such an expectation of violence that it will impose additional restrictions on how or where speech can occur. For example, if two groups with strongly opposing viewpoints that have a history of violence intend to hold rallies next to each other, the police may require them to remain a safe distance apart to reduce the risk of violence. Similarly, if members of a group have a history of blocking access and/or engaging in physical violence while exercising their free speech rights, restrictions such as “buffer zones” may be appropriate.


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