Quantcast
Energy

Permanent Protest Setup at Proposed Tar Sands Strip Mine in Utah

Construction of what could become the first tar sands strip mine in the U.S. is expected to begin this summer in Book Cliffs, UT, with bitumen production and sales expected to commence next year.

Local community members have vowed to stop the Canadian-based U.S. Oil Sands controversial project, and on Friday established a permanent protest vigil inside the boundaries of the planned tar sands mine.

In opposition to the proposed tar sands strip mine in Book Cliffs, UT, activists established a permanent protest vigil on the construction site. Photo credit: Utah Tar Sands Resistance

“These beautiful lands that U.S. Oil Sands plans to destroy have been enjoyed by Utahns for decades and were the home for Ute people for hundreds of generations,” said Jessica Lee, on behalf of the community activists. “This tar sands strip mine would cause swift obliteration of multiple ecosystems and severe contributions to climate change related disasters.”

U.S. Oil Sands hold leases on 32,000 acres of land traditionally inhabited by Ute people but now controlled by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The company boasts of an "innovative process" that would allegedly eliminate the need for tailings ponds or reclamation, by utilizing a chemical solvent never before used for tar sands processing. But local residents are not convinced. 

Tar sands development in Alberta, Canada, has poisoned the drinking water for people and wildlife downstream of the mega-project—land which Indigenous communities rely on for food—continuing the genocide against native peoples of the area, says Utah Tar Sands Resistance. The Alberta tar sands spew more greenhouse-gas emissions into the atmosphere than any other project on Earth.

Toxins from the proposed Utah mine present direct threats to the Colorado River Basin, which provides drinking water for 20 million people—including the cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix—and irrigation for 15 percent of the nation's produce.

The permanent protest vigil is the latest in a string of setbacks for U.S. Oil Sands. According to Utah Tar Sands Resistance, the company has routinely missed construction goals, their stock price on the Toronto Stock Exchange has dropped 50 percent from its 2013 peak that represents a $100 million loss in value and direct action campaigns have delayed the company's progress. In July 2013, the construction of the test mine was shut down for a full day, delivering a 13 percent stock dip. U.S. Oil Sands also lacks a refinery contract, so despite big promises, it's unclear how the company intends to bring its product to market.

Endorsed by Utah Tar Sands Resistance, Peaceful Uprising and Canyon Country Rising Tide—as well as supporters from throughout the Colorado Plateau—the vigil seeks to halt U.S. Oil Sands's immediate plans to spend $60 million dollars on preliminary construction.

--------

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Report Finds Investments in Alberta's Tar Sands 'Make Neither Economic Nor Climate Sense'

Tar Sands Emissions Linked to Serious Health Problems in Alberta

Canadian Scientist Expose Their Government's Tar Sands Obsession at D.C. Briefing 

--------

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Julie Dermansky

Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spews Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon

Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.

Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Keep reading... Show less

Strange Days: Ex-Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland Under Orange Skies

By Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland hard with full hurricane-like fury on Monday, bringing powerful winds that caused widespread damage and power outages. At least two deaths have been reported from trees falling on cars, and The Irish Times said at least 360,000 ESB Networks customers lost power in Ireland because of the storm.

Keep reading... Show less
Runoff from a farm field in Iowa during a rain storm. Lynn Betts / U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Drinking Water for Millions in Rural America Contaminated With Suspected Carcinogen

Drinking water supplies for millions of Americans in farm country are contaminated with a suspected cancer-causing chemical from fertilizer, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The contaminant is nitrate, which gets into drinking water sources when chemical fertilizer or manure runs off poorly protected farm fields. Nitrate contaminates drinking water for more than 15 million people in 49 states, but the highest levels are found in small towns surrounded by row-crop agriculture. Major farm states where the most people are at risk include California, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kansas.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

Trump's Approval Rating on Hurricane Response Sinks 20 Points After Puerto Rico

President Trump's approval rating for overseeing the federal government's response to hurricanes fell by 20 points after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS revealed.

Trump's approval rating for responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma stood at 64 percent in mid-September. Just a month later, only 44 percent approve.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Photo taken by Hélio Madeiras, a firefighter in Portugal. Facebook

Wildfires Rage Through Portugal and Spain, Kill at Least 39

Wildfires have killed at least 39 people in Spain and Portugal since Sunday.

Hundreds of fires in both countries are being fanned by winds from Hurricane Ophelia in the north, currently barreling towards Ireland, and encouraged by extremely dry terrain from a scorching hot summer in the region.

Keep reading... Show less
Desperate for water, Puerto Ricans are resorting to any available sources, such as this stream in Cayey. Angel Valentin / NPR

Desperate Puerto Ricans Are Drinking Water From Hazardous Waste Sites

The ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee called for an investigation into the availability of potable water in Puerto Rico following reports Friday that residents are scrounging for water from hazardous waste sites.

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed residents were trying to access water from three Superfund sites, and following a CNN story Friday featuring Puerto Ricans taking water from a fourth site, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke asking if she knew about the situation and calling the reports "beyond disturbing."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Brant at Izembek Lagoon. Kristine Sowl / USFWS

Groups Slam Zinke's 'Backroom Deals' to Build Road Through Alaskan Wildlife Refuge

Ryan Zinke's Interior Department is working behind the scenes to build a controversial and long-contested road through the heart of Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, documents show.

The refuge was established more than 30 years ago to conserve wetlands and habitats for migrating birds, brown bears and salmon and other wildlife. 300,000 of its 315,000 acres has been designated as Wilderness in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Keep reading... Show less
FAO / Giulio Piscitelli

On World Food Day, Pope Francis Says Link Between Climate Change and Hunger Is Undeniable

By Andrew McMaster

Speaking at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on World Food Day, Pope Francis addressed the need for governments around the world to acknowledge that climate change and migration were leading to increases in world hunger.

Francis received a standing ovation after a stirring speech in which he said all three issues were interrelated and require immediate attention.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox