In the News
Moab Sun News: June 22
20 Arrested at Oil Sands Mine
Opinion: Sarah Stock June 16th
Reclaiming our Future
Uintah Basin Standard: June 12th
Protesters trespass on U.S. Oil Sands property to voice environmental impact concerns
February 17th, 2016
Auction of Utah oil & gas leases spurs author Terry Tempest Williams to (legally) buy lease
February 18th, 2016
Residents reveal mixed views on Book Cliffs Corridor Study
August 25th, 2015
Utah groups’ letter to CIB on coal export plan
August 20th, 2015
Opinion: CIB uses nasty tactics to confuse real issue
by Sarah Stock in Moab Sun News
August 13th, 2015
Protesters disrupt work at tar sands mine
April 20th, 2015
Earth Day in Moab
April 25th, 2014
Public Hearing on County’s Alternatives to the Bishop Process
March 19th, 2014
Protest of Fidelity Oil Pipeline at Moab BLM Field Office
Residents of Moab protesting at the BLM to encourage that Fidelity Oil follow the highest possible safety standards for a pipeline running near campsites by Dead Horse State Park and Canyonlands National Park. This gathering pipeline is essentially unregulated as of now. Oil and Gas development is happening at such an incredible speed on our public lands that the regulatory agencies (like the BLM) are unable to oversee the vast majority of these projects.
A radio show featuring “Seldom Seen” Ken Sleight, Jack Loeffler, John Weisheit, Lauren Wood of Peaceful Uprising, and Sarah Stock of CCRT discussing the legacy of Ed Abbey in Canyon Country.
July 2013 – Canyon Country Action Camp
Communities Vow to Protect Colorado River System from Dirty Energy Extraction
Bookcliffs Range, Utah–Dozens of individuals peacefully disrupted road construction and stopped operations today at the site of a proposed tar sands mine in the Bookcliffs range of southeastern Utah. Earlier this morning, Utahns joined members of indigenous tribes from the Four Corners region and allies from across the country for a water ceremony inside the mine site on the East Tavaputs Plateau. Following the ceremony, a group continued to stop work at the mine site while others halted road construction, surrounding heavy machinery with banners reading “Respect Existence or Expect Existence” and “Tar Sands Wrecks Lands”.
“The proposed tar sands and oil shale mines in Utah threaten nearly 40 million people who rely on the precious Colorado River System for their life and livelihood,” said Emily Stock, a seventh generation Utahn from Grand County, and organizer with Canyon Country Rising Tide. “The devastating consequence of dirty energy extraction knows no borders, and we stand together to protect and defend the rights of all communities, human and non-human,” Stock said.
Monday’s events are the culmination of a week-long Canyon Country Action Camp, where people from the Colorado Plateau and across the nation gathered to share skills in civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action. Utah’s action training camp and today’s action are affiliated with both Fearless Summer and Summer Heat, two networks coordinating solidarity actions against the fossil fuel industry’s dirty energy extraction during the hottest weeks of the year.
“Impacted communities are banding together to stop Utah’s development of tar sands and oil shale. We stand in solidarity because we know that marginalized communities at points of extraction, transportation, and refining will suffer the most from climate change and dirty energy extraction,” said Camila Apaza-Mamani, who grew up in Utah.
US Oil Sands, a Canadian corporation, has received all the required regulatory permits to mine for tar sands in the region, and could scale up operations within a year. Although preliminary work has already begun, the company still lacks the necessary investment capital for the project. Today’s actions and lawsuits filed last week pose new challenges to the company’s plans, and those of other corporations exploring tar sands and oil shale plays on the Colorado Plateau, such as Red Leaf Resources and Enefit.
The region is known for its remote high desert land, vital groundwater resources, diversity of wildlife and sites sacred to regional indigenous people. Tar sands operations requires intensive water and energy for mining and refining processes, and Utah’s strip mining operations would likely yield only low grade diesel fuel.
Currently, tar sands from mining operations in Alberta, Canada are being refined in Salt Lake City by Chevron Corporation. As the refining industry in Utah seeks to expand, communities alongside the refineries already suffer from adverse health impacts and according to a recent study, Salt Lake City boasts the worst air quality in the United States.
Additionally, rural communities like Green River, Utah face the risk of new refinery proposals to process tar sands and oil shale, electricity generating stations and even a nuclear power plant.
“The networks of groups and individuals taking action today in Utah have come together in an alliance that is historically unprecedented for this region. We join with others around the world, forming a coordinated response to these threats to our air, water, land, communities and to the larger climate impacts of this dirty energy development model,” said Lauren Wood, a seventh generation Utahn and third generation Green River outfitter.
Utah’s School Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), the agency leasing the land for tar sands mining to US Oil Sands, is tasked with administering state lands for the benefit of public institutions such as schools.
“Tar sands strip mining would be worst thing for the state, this country and the world. Although SITLA professes to care about the children, it consistently puts short term economic gain over the long term health of the very children it professes to benefit,” says Stock.
“There are no jobs on a dead planet. We need heroes not puppets of corporate interest who steal from current and future generations to line the pockets of a greedy few, at the expense of our communities and our environment,” said Stock.
Groups have vowed to continue their efforts to protect the Colorado River System and are planning future demonstrations and actions to stop the tar sands strip mining and other “dirty energy projects” across the region.
Deseret News (slideshow) –Activists protest proposed Utah tar sands mine, shut down road project
Salt Lake Tribune – Protesters halt road work near eastern Utah tar sands mine
Earth First! Newswire (photos) – Climate Justice Activists Occupy Two Tar Sands Mining Sites in Utah