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Denver • The investigative arm of Congress says the availability of water could eventually limit the growth of oil shale development in Utah and Colorado.

Oil shale deposits in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming hold an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil. Companies are trying to find commercially viable ways to extract it.

The Government Accountability Office says in a report released Monday that oil shale development could have "significant" impacts on water quality and quantity, but more research is needed to determine the effects. The GAO says up to 12 barrels of water, or about 500 gallons, may be needed to produce a barrel of oil. It urges the Interior Department to coordinate more research.