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Oil shale extraction faces opposition in Israel

Residents and environmental groups have opposed plans to extract oil shale from rocks beneath a Jeru

A project to extract oil shale from rocks beneath a Jerusalem valley has been met with fierce opposition in Israel, reports the Times.

Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), a company funded by the US-based American Oil Shale, plans to produce a type of crude from a vast shale deposit in the Adullam valley, west of Jerusalem. However, residents and environmental groups have opposed this energy-intensive and environmentally risky process.

The Union for Environmental Defence is seeking an injunction from the country's Supreme Court to block the project, questioning the legal basis on which the company has been awarded a licence for the extraction.

Residents of the area have mounted a "Save Adullam" campaign. They have highlighted the project's potential impact on the local environment and water table, and the high greenhouse gas emissions associated with production.

The IEI has rejected these concerns, saying they expect the court to reject the plea for an injunction. The company claims "very stringent" environmental measures and that its new "in situ" extraction technology will not disturb aquifers or cause ground disturbance.

Israel - which imports all its oil - is thought to have 15 billion tonnes of oil shale, adds the report.