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!
Update 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
A Comical banner drop….
On Thursday February 11th, a meeting of the Grand County Transportation Special District was interrupted by a comical banner hang depicting a handful of public money being flushed down a toilet for the Book Cliffs Highway.
Spokes person for Canyon Country Rising Tide, Cindy Lewis said, “Grand County residents have been pushed too far. We’ve been resisting this road since the early 90s with legitimate public process. The Six County Infrastructure Coalition is now attempting to ignore our County Council and make a charade of our public process, so we’ll make a charade of theirs.”
The banner was displayed at a public presentation about the Book Cliffs Transportation Corridor Study – a $619,000 endeavor sponsored by taxpayers.
The Six County Infrastructure Coalition (Carbon, Daggett, Duchense, Emery, San Juan, and Uintah counties) intends to use this study to request $5 million taxpayer dollars to develop an Environmental Impact Statement for the project. The highway would be used to move oil, gas, tar sands, and oil shale from the Uintah Basin south to I-70. The Grand County Council pulled out of the then Seven County Infrastructure Coalition earlier this year, largely due to opposition for the Book Cliffs Highway. The proposed transportation route, which is entirely in Grand County, is estimated to cost between $110-200 million to construct with annual maintenance costs of about $1.2 million.
“We should be investing our public money in community controlled alternative energy projects, not roads to support the boom and bust tar sands industry,” said Cindy Lewis.
Unconventional Oil – A Bad Investment
Try as they might, tar sands and oil shale will never be profitable without using massive amounts of public money to prop up their business models. With low oil prices and a very risky political climate, these upstart companies are having an impossible time securing investors to move forward with their projects.
We are winning, slowly, determinedly, and with lots of fun, by creating a risky business atmosphere for these foolish ventures. Lawsuits slow the process, direct action slows the progress, oil prices fluctuate, and now–with the recent announcement by US Oil Sands that they are drastically slowing down construction of the PR Springs tar sands mine–we have some room to breathe.
But, while the companies lay off workers and bide their time, leaving vast areas in the process of being strip mined, they are also working in our County Governments, in UDOT, with SITLA, and with the CIB to take millions of dollars of public money and spend it on infrastructure that these failing startup companies need. Right now, we need to challenge all of these institutions. We need our money to go towards locally driven, community controlled alternative energy projects, public transportation, and food security, not wasted on a dying, speculative industry that would change our climate beyond imagination.
Tar Sands and Oil Shale Projects on hold or significantly slowed due to “bust”:
Ambre Energy Oil Shale – Colorado (sold to Red leaf Resources and now on hold)
What they’re up to the in the meantime (points of intervention):
Bookcliffs Highway – a proposed $3 million/ mile highway connecting the P.R. Spring Tar Sands Mine and Red Leaf Resources to I-70. They currently have no way to get product to market, thus the projects are not viable. The Six County Infrastructure Coalition is trying to secure public money for this project from the State. The Grand County Transportation Special Service District will host a presentation about this on February 11th at 6 p.m. at the Grand Center, 182 North 500 West.
Six County Infrastructure Coalition – “The Coalition’s mission is to plan infrastructure corridors, procure funding, permit, design, secure rights-of-way and own such facilities. Operation and maintenance of these assets will likely be outsourced to third parties,” taken from the SCIC website. This is an industry-sponsored spin on local government. They function to funnel public money to benefit a few private corporation in the oil, gas, tar sands, fracking, potash, coal, and oil shale industries.
MCW is working to obtain “full production” permits from the state to move into continuous production mode and is in the process of implementing several Utah Government recommendations with regards to trucking activities on and off its lease site at Asphalt Ridge.
Enefit – Must soon give up its federal research lease with the state or prove it is making headway towards commercial production. Enefit is going through a BLM process to build a utility corridor to the site which will deliver water, power and natural gas to the Enefit operation and move crude out through a 16-inch pipe.
Red Leaf Resources – Closed up shop, but says they’ll be in full scale production by 2017 with production by 2018.
Low energy prices lead to turmoil, rumors for Utah oil operations
In Utah, scaled down oil shale dreams still alive
MCW Energy tar sands plant appears inactive
Fueling Climate Chaos: Government Board Pours Millions into Industry Coffers
October 1st, 2015
Salt Lake City, UT: Today, Community Impact Board (CIB) members were greeted by banners and signs from climate justice group Canyon Country Rising Tide (CCRT), who was present at this month’s meeting to protest the flagrant use of public money for private companies that are fueling climate change.
The CIB, who claims its role is to alleviate communities impacted by fossil fuel development, allocated $53 million for the construction of a coal export terminal in Oakland, CA in April, in a brazen move to funnel public money into industry coffers. The Board is set to strike again – this time funnelling another $1.35 million for a power line project from Green River into an extraction zone scarred with drilling rigs and mines. While the Board has hitherto been shrouded in bureaucratic anonymity, these recent misallocations of royalties intended for communities has put a magnifying glass onto the CIB and their dirty-secrets.
Dirty, above all, is the right word for the type of development the CIB has fostered: the export terminal in Oakland stands to revitalize the coal industry that is pushing the world further towards climate chaos, while CIB-funded projects such as Seep Ridge Road ($54 million in CIB loans and grants) have catalysed the expansion of extreme fossil fuels oil shale and tar sands in Utah. CCRT asserts that with the increasing economic instability of coal and the looming realities of climate change, the State of Utah needs a serious overhaul of how public money is allocated.
CCRT campaigner Kate Savage asks: “Why are we continuing to prop up a dying industry causing some of the biggest problems we face, when the state could be using these funds to transition our communities towards a renewable energy future? What rural communities in Utah need are secure, healthy and abundant jobs they can count on, not pie-in-the-sky export-terminals.”
CCRT campaigner Sarah Stock says: “There is a revolving door between the CIB and industry, and present and former board members such as Uintah County Commissioner Mike McKee and Transportation Commissioner Jeff Holt stand to profit greatly while the people they represent lose out. It’s time to put people before profits, and start thinking about what will be beneficial for Utah in the long run.”