Beware the shale oil ‘solution’

Utsunomiya, Tochigi

Regarding the Oct. 4 front-page article “Shale oil extracted from Akita field“: I recommend the following link for explaining the devastating downside to shale mining and oil production:

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5167

Shale oil extraction is one of the worst possible alternative energy source solutions for Japan, yet I hear the Japanese media calling it a “revolution.” It has serious risks such as:

(1) the potential to poison the ground water supply.

(2) air pollution (the mining byproducts are toxic and burning shale oil emits twice as much greenhouse gas as standard crude).

(3) consumption of barrels and barrels of water from mining.

Shale oil is an economically feasible solution only under certain economic conditions. Otherwise, all the mining, the processing, etc., to make it usable even for a car, for example, is just as expensive as regular crude, if not a few cents cheaper.

The downside for meeting “10 percent of Japan’s annual oil consumption” appears to outweigh the “solution.” Personally, I was horrified to see that Japan has gone from nuclear energy to this. Now is an opportunity for green energy — without devastating risks — to meet the needs of the country I have come to love.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

jim eckett