Protest erupts in Salt Lake City Utah. The proposed mining area in Utah is the first permitted tar sands mining in the United States. While the Bureau of Land management have identified tar sands rocks in as many as five states, Utah sets the precedent. The most current tar sands mining permits are in the scenic Book Cliffs area, visible from Arches National Park, and the most threatened site is at PR Springs.
The Earth First! 2012 Organizers Conference & Winter Rendezvous culminated in a rowdy demonstration outside the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) offices in downtown Salt Lake City. Earth First! activists staged their protest with local organizers from Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Canyon Country Rising Tide. A clear (and messy) message was left at the doorstep—a mock oil spill accompanied by a mural reading “Hey SITLA: Tar Sands Outta Utah!”
The project would lease school trust lands for tar sands extraction in the Book Cliffs area, directly impacting PR Springs.
“Destruction of education trust lands through tar sands mining is contrary to the mandate of this agency, which requires them to maintain the land for the long term,” said Mark Purdy of Utah Tar Sands Resistance.
An article in the Desert News stated: “The proposed mining operation would occupy a 213-acre site in the East Tavaputts Plateau straddling the borders of Uintah and Grand counties. An ore processing facility would accommodate up to 3,500 tons of ore per day in the production of bitumen. The extraction process would require 1.5 barrels to 2 barrels of water per barrel of bitumen produced… The company will have to post a reclamation bond of nearly $1.7 million before any work is allowed to begin at the site.
Last year Earth First! protested tar sands development in Montana, shutting down the state capitol building for a day and even dancing on the governor’s table.