Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar takes the stage during day one of the Democratic National Convention on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar takes the stage during day one of the Democratic National Convention on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar commended for saving the Colorado River

Today, the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) commended fifth-generation Coloradan, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, for adopting a  plan to protect Colorado’s water from oil shale speculation. The Salazar plan, released today, would require oil shale companies to conduct successful research and development projects and prove the economic and ecological necessity of oil shale prior to commercial leasing.

“We needed a smart approach to oil shale development and Secretary Salazar deserves credit for making this a priority for Colorado, and for the state’s Latinos, which make up a significant portion of the state’s population and depend on Colorado River and water supplies for their quality of life and economic opportunity,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “Costly, water-hungry oil shale speculation would put Western families’ health and safety at risk.”

A recent Latino Decisions poll showed that 70 percent of those surveyed favor a plan requiring oil companies to complete successful research of oil shale technologies, and its potential impact to Western water prior to commercial development on public lands.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar commended for saving the Colorado River  shell mahogany oil shale rdd site photo courtesy of ecoflight people NBC Latino News

Shell Mahogany oil shale RDD site (Courtesy Ecoflight)

“The Colorado River doesn’t just run through the Southwest, it runs through our culture and it nourishes our lives,” said Andres Ramirez, Director at Nuestro Rio.  “Saving the Colorado River is about protecting our Latino heritage and promoting our future.”

Estimates by the Government Accountability Office have projected that full-scale oil shale development could require more than 123 billion gallons of water each year, enough water for more than 750,000 households. Additionally, the mining and processing of oil shale can leach toxic metals and pollutants, such as lead and arsenic, into rivers and groundwater.

Click here for more information about oil shale and the need to protect Colorado’s water.

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