Resisters and High School students attend SITLA board meeting

A group of concerned persons attended the monthly SITLA board meeting to speak during the public comment period. Here are some videos of folks speaking at the  meeting in November.


Four high school students came to speak and ask questions of the Board of Trustees at the monthly meeting of the Schools and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) in Salt Lake City.

Students address SITLA board of trustees

Here is a clip of some High School students in Salt Lake city who took the time to attend this public meeting and ask some questions of the SITLA board of trustees. These students are beneficiaries of the trust. Listen to the board responses.

Posted by Utah Tar Sands Resistance on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The students asked the board about climate change and the effects for future generations.

Another student asked about SITLA”s role in causing air pollution.

The board was aloof and somewhat condescending to the well informed students who are the beneficiaries of the school lands trust.

The students were from West High School, Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts, Highland High School and The Academy for Math Engineering and Science.

Utah Tar Sands Resistance had 2 speakers and other people of all ages spoke.

SITLA is entrusted with leasing and developing state trust lands for the benefit of primarily the K-12 public education system in Utah. SITLA is constitutionally mandated to generate revenue from trust lands to build and grow permanent endowments for the beneficiaries.

The seven member un-elected board with no direct public accountability and ties to either fossil fuel interests or real estate development are responsible for the management of leases to these trust lands.

The public has many concerns about SITLA. These include individual trustees conflict of interest which can (or has) led to decisions which may benefit board members or their colleagues. Secondly, SITLA’s policy promoting oil shale and tar sand strip-mining has failed. While millions of dollars have been spent, not one barrel of oil has been realized and pristine lands, most of which are within the Uncompahgre reservation boundaries, have been devastated.  Recent failed or failing projects include: US Oil Sands, Red Leaf Resources , Enefit Energy, and MCW Energy (now called Petroteq). Everyone of these projects is unprofitable, un-reclaimed, harmed land, bankruptcies, busted communities have been the legacy so far.

Lonnie Bullard insults his critics and the beneficiaries. Gee …

Later in the meeting after the public comment period ends and the students leave, to return to class I presume, Board member Lonnie Bullard the SITLA board vice chair takes the floor to insult the students and the rest of us who remained.

Posted by Utah Tar Sands Resistance on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mr. Lonnie Bullard a member of the SITLA board of trustees takes time during the monthly meeting to insult the students, who are the beneficiaries of the trust, and the other folks who spoke.  Some of the students who spoke were not even offered chairs in the mostly full room. They were attending the meeting at 9 am likely missing some school classes, to speak during the 10 min public comment period which occurs at the beginning of the 2-3 hour meeting. Mr Bullard insulted the students for leaving before the meeting ended. I pointed out that the students likely had to return to high school. He also criticizes “people who choose to spend the time in tents and on lines” for wanting a magic wand. UTSR did in fact participate in the governors clean energy alliance by suggesting that Utah take tar sands and oil shale development OFF the governors energy plan. Needless to say this proposal was not accepted.

US Oil Sands PR Springs project sits idle.

Daily observation shows  a lot of nothing really happening at the PR Springs tar processing factory and the million dollar machines that are yet to actually work. The 99 acres including the beloved Children’s Legacy camp site are cleared of visible life and the tar layers are exposed even some “ore” has been collected and piled at the bottom of a giant conveyor belt that never moves. A few workers are on site. No longer needed is the 25 person bus from vernal that arrived every weekday last summer. 2 or 3 vehicles arrive on some days and work in the factory compound. No activity is happening at the mine pit.

USOS has disclosed the lack of funds and inability to actually operate its process for 30 days as most recently promised and expects to operate for 5 days to show it can. But can it? USOS has been just about to produce oil since 2008. They have paid the corporate heads a lot of money over the years and spent a lot on the “factory” and mine but no oil has been produced. This is a victory for Earth!

My research reveals a lucrative scam that has been enriching some and harming most for many years. There are key players and paid politicians who have been perpetuating the get rich pipe dream.

The truth is tar sands or oil shale strip mining, upgrading into a use-able fuel and delivering to a viable market at a profit is a far off pipe dream in Eastern Utah.

One can take a look at Canada and the reality of tar sands mining in Alberta to understand the amount of infrastructure and energy involved in the commercial production of oil. Literally billions of dollars were spent on the mines, factories and infrastructure to deliver the tar before ANY profit was returned on the investment.
Even though policy makers in Utah have repeatedly claimed there is more oil here than in Saudi Arabia the reality is that the tar sands and oil shale are rocks and sand mixed with bitumen or kerogen, lacking the water molecules present in Athabasca tar sands and cannot be extracted the same way it has been done in Canada. Several attempts have been made and many false claims have been repeated by various start ups and even a few big oil names over the years yet none of these hopefuls have made any commercial product.
On the other hand the history shows a poor regulatory effort including out right instructions in the record of how to avoid certain regulatory triggers and admitted failure to enforce clean up or “reclamation” policies, revolving doors from corporate to government and back, boom and bust cycles with real folks loosing their jobs and more plus real scum bags paying them selves big salaries for running these great scams.

We continue to resist tar sands and oil shale development by exposing the scams.

Formal Complaint and Request for Action Against MCW Energy Group


I submitted this complaint to the following agencies yesterday afternoon.

Utah Division of Air Quality, Utah Division of Water Quality, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, and Utah DOGM Minerals Regulatory Program.

I will post an update when I get some responses.


This letter is a formal complaint and request for action by Raphael Cordray, personally, and behalf, Utah tar Sands Resistance (UTSR).

This complaint alleges that MCW Energy is operating a tar sands processing plant near Vernal in violation of State and Federal environmental laws and regulations. MCW Energy is performing unlawful activity by building and operating a tar processing facility without environmental permits.

My search of public records reveals that no current permits are existing as required by law and for public safety. This Tar Processing facility is adjacent a residential area putting homes and families at risk.

MCW has no Air pollution control permit.

MCW has no Storm Water discharge permit

MCW has no NPDES Process Water discharge permit

MCW has no permit for RCRA Waste Streams yet appears to create RCRA waste streams

There are chemicals and processes on site that require permitting and regulation yet the MCW facilities and tar processing operations are currently unpermitted and unregulated.

MCW stands to gain a huge financial benefit from this illegal activity by placing human health and the environment at risk.  MCW is defrauding investors by making numerous false claims on their website.

MCW has used public leaders including, Kevin Van Tassel and Governor Herbert to create an illusion of legitimacy for this illegal project.

I am aware that a Right Of Entry (ROE) permit 6166 was issued to MCW on February 2nd by SITLA.  I also reviewed the related “Final Agency Action” letter from Kevin Carter of SITLA to MCW dated Nov. 17 2015.

ROE 6166 executed contract

I am concerned about the content of the ROE.  The ROE claims to authorize the dumping of process water by MCW tar processing facility in unlined pits on the site.  Where is the public process and proper environmental impact research in an ROE?  A tar sands factory needs more than an ROE to operate yet state of Utah records indicate that MCW has been operating illegally on this site for years.

The ROE permit 6166 states:

“SITLA authorizes and approves Permittee’s use, storage and disposal of Produced Water on the Permitted Property.”

SITLA does not regulate produced water. How & Why are they “authorizing” it?

We request that you take immediate action and close this illegal operation.  We demand that the environmental impacts to our air, water and the land from this toxic experiment be disclosed and addressed. We formally request that  ALL relevant laws and rules be effectively applied and enforced to this project.

Please contact me if you need any further information.

I look forward to your responses.


Raphael Cordray, personally and for,

Utah Tar Sands Resistance