Communicating Policy Recommendations

No policy analysis has utility until it is communicated to the person who can make a decision. Such communications may come in the form of memoranda or briefings. An analyst must be skilled in making written and oral arguments. In this Section, the Learner will have the opportunity to demonstrate a mastery of the course material in two signature assignments, the preparation of a memorandum recommending a course of action and of a briefing to accompany the memorandum.

Required Reading:
Dunn, W. (2012): Chapter 9, 10

Select a policy related to a local, state, or federal program or issue and prepare a memorandum recommending a decision on implementation or rejection of this policy. Be sure to address (a) background information, (b) the problem under study, (c) the significance of the problem, (d) an analysis of alternatives, and (e) a final recommendation.

Length: 10-12 pages (app. 350 words per page)

Your memo should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and the current APA standards.

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Tar Sand and Oil Shale: A Route to Energy Independence or Environmental Misstep?

Tar sand and oil shale are mineral deposits that contain oily substances that can be extracted with heat and refined into oil. Oil shale is a finely grained rock with significant amounts of shale oil in it. It is considered to be an immature oil deposit. Tar sand is an oil sand or sandstone from which the lighter components have evaporated, leaving an asphalt-like substance. The amount of oil that can be recovered from oil shale deposits in the Green River formation in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah is about 2 trillion barrels, which as equal to 1 to 2 times the total word oil reserves. The estimated reserves of tar sands in Utah are another 12 to 19 billion barrels. (OSTEIS, n.d.) The largest tar sands deposits are in the Canadian province of Alberta, with potential reserves of 170 billion barrels. (Alberta Energy, n.d.)

In order to recover the oil in oil sands or oil shale, the material mined must be heated and mixed with a solvent in order for it to flow. It is transported by pipeline to refineries, where it is turned into gasoline, diesel, and other products. According to a 2010 study by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), the resulting fuel is somewhat higher in carbon than the average found in fuels derived from other sources and comparable to the carbon found in heavy crude oil. The carbon content of the fuels determines the amount to CO2 is released when the fuel is burned, but the variation in carbon content is relatively small and for the intent of CERA’s study all gasoline and other refined products are considered to have the same carbon content. A reason for this is that the end product is usually derived from a variety of sources. (CERA, 2010)...
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