Prevent Development for Oil Extraction in the Western U.S

Target: U.S Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the Bureau of Land Management

Goal: Protect groundwater and ecosystems by preventing development of shale and tar sands oil extraction in the Western United States

Over two million acres of land in the Western Rocky Mountain region risk development for oil extraction in the form of shale or tar sands mining. This would put groundwater in danger of pollution and many fragile ecosystems in a path of destruction. A judge in Utah just approved tar sands mining without requiring a groundwater pollution permit. Please prevent the Bureau of Land Management and the Secretary of Interior from approving further oil development in this region where freshwater resources are already stressed.

Shale and tar sands oil extraction are especially destructive methods of oil extraction, impacting surrounding ecosystems, potentially polluting groundwater, and requiring a significant amount of freshwater for operation. Useable freshwater is already a scarce resource for humans and wildlife in this largely arid region. Further, several national parks would be seriously compromised and potentially damaged as a result of extraction operations.

Increased pressure on the United States to be independent of foreign fuel has led to the opening of this discussion, but the underlying problem is the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, regardless of the source. Instead of putting the Western United States in serious danger of ecosystem destruction and groundwater pollution and depletion, awareness and funding should go towards development of renewable energy infrastructure. Please encourage the Secretary of Interior and Bureau of Land Management to protect the valuable environment and water resources by preventing development of oil extraction in the Western Rocky Mountain region of the United States.


Dear U.S Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the Bureau of Land Management,

Tar sands oil extraction has just been approved in Utah without the requirement of a groundwater pollution permit, and further oil development in the American West may follow unless the serious risks to human and environmental health are not adequately evaluated.

Freshwater is becoming more scarce in the Rocky Mountain West region as aquifers, which require thousands of years to replenish, are being run dry. Both tar sands and shale oil extraction methods require vast amounts of water, often pollute groundwater, and have a high rate of oil spills. Since 1970, the EPA has dealt with well over 8,000 oil spills from tar sands mines. This variety of crude oil called bitumen is probably the most difficult to clean up because it sinks in water and the chemicals used to process it are carcinogenic.

Underlying these serious risks is that of developing infrastructure that perpetuates America’s heavy dependence on unsustainable, polluting fossil fuels. Please focus on development of renewable energy infrastructure in the United States, rather than destructive oil extraction.

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Loco Steve via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    Hasn’t there been enough damage done to the environment already? Why potentially make things even worse?

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