Shmuck in a Shell

It's a new year, so all of the Shmucks from 2008 -- well their transgressions are just raging, unclaimed water under the bridge. But a new year means new Shmucks! And the first is making a claim for some of that raging water.

Earlier this week, Shell Oil filed for "the first major water right on the Yampa River -- the last river basin in the state with unappropriated water," according to a story in the Denver Post. The Yampa runs for 250 miles through northwestern Colorado.

Shell plans to slurp up 8 percent of the spring flow and pump it into a reservoir; it would use the water to help with its plans to convert shale on the Western Slope into oil -- a controversial practice that has energy companies falling all over themselves to line up for. Colorado already has water problems as cities, agriculture and other states all compete for it -- not to mention the fish who swim in it and the kayakers to paddle it.

So get to it, Shell! More oil, less water.

For previous Shmucks, see our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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