Arrests on the Tavaputs Plateau During a Nature Walk with Children

Click here to donate to support legal expenses of arrestees.

All donations will go directly to the legal fund of the Tavaputs Action Council and will be used to support legal expenses of those arrested at the Family Campout nature walk as well as potential legal expenses that may result from the upcoming reclamation action. Thank you for your support!

tar-sands-arrests1Update June 12th, 8AM:

All ten individuals were released from the Uintah County Jail at roughly 4:45AM this morning on bail.  They are tired but fine and the parents are eager to reunite with their children.

Update June 11th, 9:00 PM:

Ten people Have been taken to Vernal County jail on charges of Criminal Trespass, a class B Misdemeanor


June 11, 2016 3:45PM

Seepridge Road, Uintah County, UT – Ten participants of Utah Tar Sands Resistance’s

family camp out on the Tavaputs Plateau have been arrested after completing

biodiversity studies close to the country’s first tar sands mine. A number of children

and adults walked to the wooded area next to the Children’s Legacy Mine to count

plants and identify different species, returning to an area that several members of

the group had camped at freely in previous years. Upon returning to their vehicles

they were met by Ronald Barton, police officer salaried on the public buck to police

the area for fossil fuel companies. Mr. Barton proceeded to detain the group for

trespassing and even threatened parents with reckless child endangerment. He also

instructed a news reporter who had wanted to follow the group that she would be

arrested if she attempted to do so.


Canadian company US Oil Sands is hoping to extract tar sands – a fossil fuel even

more polluting than oil and coal – at the Children’s Legacy Mine, and leasing SITLA

land (which is public land). Protesters have been holding a vigil by the mine for

several years, and documenting the ongoing destruction to land and wildlife.

Shea Wickelson, who led the biodiversity lesson, is a science teacher in Salt Lake

City: “I have been camping here with my family for the past four years. Last year, we

took some biodiversity data with my son and others. This year we wanted to see

how the mining expansion has impacted the area and take new data. We were

surprised to see the area so razed because we had read that US Oil Sands was ending

development, but it looks like a significant expansion to us. I am disappointed to

find out that my family and I are no longer allowed to be on the public land that we

have been visiting for the past four years.”


Natascha Deininger of Wasatch Rising Tide: “It’s ironic that local law enforcement is

so concerned with protecting industry interests, when the land in question is

actually public, and was ultimately stolen from the first nations of this area. It is

outrageous that a science teacher is being detained for teaching kids about

biodiversity on public land, when US Oil Sands is destroying hopes of a livable



Raphael Cordray of Utah Tar Sands Resistance: “We have a responsibility to the

public to document and witness the damage to the area. We are investigating a

crime scene and making records of what is happening here, as the decision makers

and regulators are ignoring the real concerns about this project.”


For Media, Please call: Natascha Deininger (385) 414-9299



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Posted on June 12, 2016, in Press Release and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. How does this impact next weekend’s camp site?

    Marc Thomas & Judi Simon
    827 N. Palisade Drive
    Moab, UT 84532
    435-259-3603 (home)
    435-210-0806 (Judi’s cell)
    435-210-0807 (Marc’s cell)

    • We will not be intimidated by this one cops vendetta against peaceful public camping and hiking, nor back down from protest in the future. We will meet this repression with joy and resolve in the form of art, music and seed. Come join us; people are strong together; they cannot arrest everyone who opposes the tar sands, there are simply not enough jail cells.

  2. Bruce Chapman

    That cop’s helping the oil companies to endanger all the children of the world!

  3. They will just put you in dog kennels when the cells become full (just like they did at standing rock this past week). Good luck.

  1. Pingback: Arrests on the Tavaputs Plateau During a Nature Walk with Children – Rising Tide North America

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