As environmentalists, we are all used to confronting industry propaganda surrounding dirty fossil fuels, but oil shale backers are in a league of their own.
Despite a century of effort, no barrels of oil have ever been produced on a commercial scale from this fuel source in the U.S. Yet the oil industry is singing oil shale’s praises and lobbying the government to hand over pristine public land in the West for private speculation.
Contact the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and stop this oil industry land grab.
Oil shale development—which to date has involved baking rocks at hundreds of degrees for months to produce something only vaguely resembling oil—would likely consume massive quantities of water, cause significant air pollution, destroy thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and promote boom-and-bust cycles for local economies. And they want millions of acres to do it, without any proof that they can commercially produce this fuel.
The oil shale industry’s jobs claims are suspicious at best, but we do know how much Western economies depend on a healthy environment. Oil shale production could deplete:
- Water, an indispensable resource in this arid region. Farming and ranching communities depend on a steady water supply.
- Wildlife, which contribute to vibrant tourism and recreational industries. These generate $3 billion annually in economic activity in Colorado alone.
- Clean air, a fundamental requirement of life that keeps our communities healthy and productive. Additionally, oil shale production will generate greenhouse gases that drive climate change.
The oil shale industry already has access to thousands of acres of public lands, as well as more than 250,000 acres of private land. The only thing holding back the oil shale industry is the rock itself.
Unproven technology should not be used to justify a controversial land grab that pits communities against each other. Tell the BLM not to hand over public land to a dirty industry that cannot promise any job gains.
To sign the petition, click here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.
Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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By Alexandra Villarreal
As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.
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The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for tropical storms this year and has now moved on to the Greek alphabet during an extremely active hurricane season. Late Monday night, Tropical Storm Beta became the ninth named storm to make landfall. That's the first time so many named storms have made landfall since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president, according to NBC News.
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