The Protest Must Go On!

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We were shocked to see that our free speech banners we put up last week were stolen from the public right of way in front of the nasty tar factory being constructed at PR Springs Utah.  The banner “No pipelines! No Stripmines! Utah Land Defenders support Standing Rock and Red Warrior Camp was stolen along with “stripmines Trash Everything”

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In an effort to keep up the fight and our spirits we put up more banners.

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Saturday September 24th at PR Springs Utah

A new banner was placed at Children’s Legacy Overlook near the southern edge of the freshly stripped forest known affectionately as the “Children’s Legacy Camp”  UTSR decided to move our vigil to this overlook near the road as the weather is changing and it is preferable to have a more sunny location.  Around 5pm on saturday  about 1 hour after we arrived and began to set up our tents an unmarked vehicle pulled in (which I had seen on the ridge parked, where you can look at our camp in PR Canyon with binoculars, several times since Friday afternoon) and identifying one of us by name said this nonsense:

“Your XXX right?” You can’t be here I know that you know that this is trust lands because you have been arrested here before.”

UTSR: “Who are You?”

The man said “I am Jason Christensen, I am an investigator for the Uintah county prosecutor”

UTSR: “So why are you talking to us?”

Jason: “I am a peace officer, I have no authority in Grand County but I am doing my personal duty.”

UTSR: “Personal duty? What is a personal duty?”

Jason; “you don’t have personal time?”

UTSR: “your up here on your personal time?”

Jason: “I’m not going to argue with you I’m calling the Grand County Sheriff!”

He does I listen (LOL) we are not actually trespassing.

Jason “i’ve got pictures of you”

He drives to the county line 500 feet away and parks where he can watch us. A fully camo dressed man with a covered face drives by on a 4 wheeler pulls over and says “whats going on?” we say “we are protesting the strip mine” and he says “did we drive there?”  “No we are on bikes!” he says but did you drive here?” we say “do you see a car?” There is none  LOL!!! This makes him mad. He leaves and goes to hang out with Jason. I deem him a “Cop Sucker”

We gather up wood, make a big fire and enjoy an amazing sunset across the stripped land. Another unmarked police vehicle drives by from the Uintah county side and takes more pics with a long lens. He turns around after awhile and comes back towards us he swerves and covers his face to avoid being photographed by us.

No one ever shows up from Grand County. We make sure to stay up late and flash our lights on the mine pit so the Uintah co cops have something to do. They keep watch till well after dark.

On Sunday morning , a bike ride over to the Pig Pen ( a fenced in trailer for the cops to sleep in, Uintah county built onto the side of the US Oil Sands tar processing plant fence line), reveals that the Uintah Cops have gone home to Vernal. The new banner and protest camp can be seen from Seep Ridge Road and many folks drive by who are here hunting and recreating in this remote wilderness.

Many tears have been shed over the loss of  Children’s Legacy Camp and its thriving ecosystem. We will continue to witness and grieve for every leaf of every tree, every single fly, spider, mouse and bear and everything in between we will speak of them, and think of them and honor them, as the precious beings that we know they are. Our banners and protest continue to exist.

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Utah Land Defenders support Standing Rock and Red Warrior Camp!

Utah Tar Sands Resistance and other Utah Land Defenders painted and placed a banner near the gate to the tar sands processing plant at PR Springs Utah, in the remote Book Cliffs, on the Ute’s Uncompahgre Reservation.

No Pipelines! No Stripmines! Utah Lnad Defenders support Standing Rock and Red Warrior Camp

No Pipelines! No Stripmines! Utah Land Defenders support Standing Rock and Red Warrior Camp

We say NO Pipelines! NO Stripmines! in North Dakota, or Utah! in solidarity with all of the brave persons and other beings who are on the front lines at the Sacred Stone Camp, Red Warrior Camp, and Oceti Sakowin Camp in so called North Dakota.

We respect and admire the call to protect the water at Standing Rock.

We call on others to take action and protect the water where ever you live.

Read more about Standing Rock:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/09/13/solidarity-standing-rock

 

 

 

14 people unreasonably detained for several hours and 10 adults arrested after a nature walk with children

Some content Originally posted on Canyon Country Rising tide
June 11, 2016 3:45PM

Seepridge Road, Uintah County, UT – Ten participants of Utah Tar Sands Resistance’s 4th annual family camp out on the Tavaputs Plateau have been arrested after completing biodiversity studies close to the country’s first tar sands strip-mine. A group of children and adults walked to the wooded area next to the Children’s Legacy camp site to count plants and identify different species, in 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, Special Agent for the Utah Attorney General’s office who told everyone they could not leave stating he was detaining the group for trespassing on state trust lands.  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.

Near Children’s Legacy camp site, a Canadian company, US Oil Sands is hoping to extract tar sands. They are leasing SITLA land (which is public land).

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, while US Oil Sands is destroying hopes of a livable future.”

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 another account of these events see:

Activism

 

 

Formal Complaint and Request for Action Against MCW Energy Group

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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.

COMPLAINT:

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.

Sincerely,

Raphael Cordray, personally and for,

Utah Tar Sands Resistance

IT’S ON: Major Tar Sands Construction Underway in Utah

SONY DSCCanadian company U.S Oil Sands has paid their reclamation bond of $2.2 million and has now begun major construction at their second tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of Utah.

U.S Oil Sands’ immediate plans are to clear cut 62 acres of forests and sagebrush land, according to their operations plan, but this spat of clearing may not end until 213 acres of Douglas firs, Pinyon pines, sagebrush and grasses are razed. Long-term plans by this one company threaten up to 32,000 acres of diverse wild lands.

U.S Oil Sands giant belly scrapers and bulldozers have already observably cleared an estimated 20 acres, or the size of a football stadium.

With grasses, shrubs and trees obliterated, the bulldozers are creating massive dust storms that are pummeling PR Canyon to the east, vital habitat for elk, deer, black bears and much more. The dangerously opaque dust clouds routinely cross Seep Ridge Road, substantially blocking drivers’ visibility, causing a major road hazard for which no signage has been posted. Our extensive monitoring of their operations reveal that absolutely no dust control efforts–like water sprinkling–are currently being used to protect the environment, wildlife or motorists.

U.S Oil Sands’ mining plan entails almost complete destruction of the top soil. Their operations plan states they will collect and save 24 inches of top soil for restoration “unless there are rocks,” a deeply cynical loophole as there are rocks just below the surface.

We are well acquainted with the soil here. Utah Tar Sands Resistance and our allies have been camping in the East Tavaputs Plateau, in the lands leased to U.S Oil Sands, for three years. We dig holes to bury our waste and to build our tent structures and we have observed only 1-3 centimeters of top soil in these sage-brush soils before hitting large chunks of sandstone.

Top soil in such a high-altitude, dry expanse represents thousands of years of  ecological magic. As US Oil Sands continues its violent plan to make dirty and low-grade energy from tar sands, the truly valuable resource of top soil is swirling into the air like so many broken promises.

How could we expect anything else from these scam artists? These are the same folks arguing there is no ground water in PR Spring despite just one minor spring in PR Canyon spilling 1.3 gallons per minute for at least the last 90 years–that’s 61 million gallons of water that US Oil Sands wants to pretend does not exist. So far they’ve been successful in convincing the courts this water–which feeds giant aspen groves that form the backbone of habit for numerous animals–is insignificant.

Moab-based Living Rivers and Western Resource Advocates filed a lawsuit against the state of Utah for its . The recent supreme court decision ruled living water’s lawsuit invalid because it was not filed within the state’s 30 day comment period despite the fact no such comment period was issued. Given this ruling, we can already see U.S Oil Sands and the state are fighting any obligation for environmental protection and finding any loopholes they can (no matter how illegitimate) every step of the way.

Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) has literally thousands of uninspected oil and gas wells peppered throughout the state, with a large concentration of them being in Eastern Utah. Both DOGM and SITLA (The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration) have a long history of deceiving the public, violating the public trust, and letting fossil-fuel corporations run off with the toxic profits.

To support our work monitoring these projects, go to our donate page and join the fight to end extreme extraction on the Colorado Plateau! 

Red Leaf Resources scraping open a new strip mine

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October 2013 (left) and June 2014 (right). The white structure in the center is Red Leaf Resources.

Red Leaf Resources is an experimental strip mining company hoping to make a profit from low-grade oil shale. Wannabe oil shale barons have fumbled for generations in Utah’s Uintah Basin, but this Total-backed operation may destroy 17,000 acres of pristine wilderness before learning this lesson again.

Red Leaf’s expiremental plan involves packing low-grade oil shale into earthen underground ovens, heat the contents for 7 months at like 8,000 degrees (not the actual number, but it’s something ridiculously high). And what will they use to heat the ovens? Cheap, abundant and over-produced fracked natural gas, of course.

It’s not acknowledged outright, but we’ve often speculated that the nuclear generators proposed for Green River are necessary to fuel this next generation of dirty fuel production int he Uintah Basin. Tar sands and oil shale mining huge amounts of energy to convert those rocks into something of minimal value on today’s energy markets.  What a racket!

All the while the tricksters, fraudsters, egomaniacs and just plain dupes promoting tar sands and oil shale in Utah push for more state and federal aid–the only golden parachute that can make these boondoggles the least bit profitable. Luckily, Red Leaf is really good at buying politicians.

Red Leaf aerial photo circa 2013

This is what the property looked like at the end of 2013 before the recent round of scraping.

The new Seep Ridge Road highway–reviled by hunters, ranchers and land defenders alike–was constructed by the state of Utah with taxpayer dollars primarily to benefit Red Leaf Resources.

Power brokers in state government–who sell leases to companies like Red Leaf to destroy these lands–say they’re making these dangers deals “for the kids.”  Yeah, the ones that survive.

Join our Intergenerational Campout June 20 and meet the land defenders of the permanent protest vigil who brought you this update!

Donate here to keep updates coming from the Tavaputs Plateau where we’re staving off an energy colony under construction that’s threatening the entire Colorado Plateau!

 

Red Leaf’s Controversial Utah Oil Shale Project Challenged

(Reposted from the Grand Canyon Trust)

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An aerial view of Red Leaf Resources’ Utah oil shale facility. | Photo courtesy Taylor McKinnon (Grand Canyon Trust) and Bruce Gordon (Ecoflight)

For Immediate Release, January 22, 2014

Contact:
Rob Dubuc, Western Resource Advocate, (801) 487-9911
John Weisheit, Living Rivers, (435) 259-1063
Taylor McKinnon, Grand Canyon Trust, (801) 300-2414
Shelley Silbert, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, (970) 385-9577
Tim Wagner, Sierra Club, (801) 502-5450

Controversial Utah Oil Shale Project Challenged

38,000 Public Comments Opposed Plan Threatening Aquifers, Seeps and Springs

SALT LAKE CITY— Oil shale strip mining atop Utah’s Book Cliffs is being challenged by conservation groups. The challenge is a “request for agency action” filed Tuesday, over the ground water discharge permit approved by the Utah Department of Water Quality. The permit, which authorizes Red Leaf Resources to test an oil shale mining facility, lacks measures to prevent or detect surface or groundwater pollution, in violation of state law. More than 38,000 public comments were sent to the Department opposing an earlier draft of the flawed plan.

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Photo tour: Join us to visit what Enefit oil shale mining would destroy first

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Tar sands and oil shale development are crucial accelerants to climate catastrophe and the severe harm brought to so many, but a threat of harm to every living thing on the planet. The chain of destruction starts at the extraction process on precious and beautiful land south of Vernal.

On October 25-27, we will be visiting the land that the state-owned corporation of Estonia plans to destroy for a few hours fuel.

Sign up for our newsletter to get all the updates on the camping trip as details finalize.

See a photo tour of the area after the jump, so click more here –> Continue reading

Enefit: A Half-Baked Nightmare for Utah

(The BLM is seeking public input on Enefit’s planned utility corridor project. All comments must be submitted by Aug. 1, 2012. Visit our Facebook page for more information on how to submit a comment).

StopEnefit

Tell the BLM to STOP ENEFIT!

Enefit, an Estonia oil shale company, aims to start mining oil shale in Utah in the coming years. But the odds are stacked against it—and if allowed to proceed, it would wreak havoc on the resources we all depend on. Utah Tar Sands Resistance is working to protect our lands and waters from oil shale and tar sands mining, for the sake of our own health and the wellbeing of all generations to come.

Human Health Violations:

v    Oil shale requires massive amounts of water, and in the west, we don’t have water rights to give away. The Colorado is the most endangered river in America.

v    Water rights would have to be seized from farmers and communities.

v    The Colorado would likely become polluted with dangerous compounds that seep into the watershed.

v    Toxic substances would be carried by pipes, threatening our water sources and farmland.

Devastation of Our Wilderness Heritage:

v    Oil shale mining would utterly devastate huge tracts of wilderness. Hundreds of thousands of acres of BLM and state lands are at risk.

v    This would jeopardize the livelihoods of people in communities throughout south and eastern Utah who rely on tourism for their regional economy.

A History of Failure:

v    Oil shale has a hundred-year track record of failure in the U.S. It has never come close to becoming commercially viable.

v    Oil shale is an entirely different resource from shale oil and shale gas, which are pockets of oil or gas trapped within shale rock. Oil shale is not even oil—the word “oil” is a misnomer. It’s an “immature precursor to oil and gas,” as the Colorado School of Mines says.

v    This low-grade, waxy material, called kerogen, requires energy-intensive upgrading to turn it into fuel.

v    Enefit only produces energy used for electricity in Estonia, not transportation fuel. Enefit must create an entirely new technology to mine oil shale in Utah—and experts from Estonia say commercial production would not be feasible for at least several decades out, if ever.

v    “The test results are not promising,” the company said in an internal document.

v    A wave of bad press in Estonia is barraging Enefit’s plans in Utah, saying it requires tremendous governmental subsidies to even make it viable—just like oil shale mining in Estonia. Enefit’s foolhardy attempt to make oil shale viable would devastate our lands and health, and we refuse to bear the financial and human health expenses.

Join the effort to stop dangerous oil shale and tar sands mining!

Read More:

Estonian Public Broadcasting, “PM Backs Minister as Skepticism Emerges Over Utah Oil Shale Venture”

Checks and Balances Project, “Eyes on Enefit: Financially Unstable and Unprofitable, and Not Ready for Prime Time”

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, “The Public Health Consequences of Utah’s Energy Policies

Western Resource Advocates, “The Basic Facts of Oil Shale and Tar Sands”

Tar Sands eco-terrorists can’t hide from the resistance–climate justice WILL be served!

Utah Tar Sands Resistance, Peaceful Uprising and Deep Green Resistance Great Basin May 7 stormed the Unconventional Fuels Conference in Salt Lake City, piercing fossil fuel lies by speaking truth to power. The Conference was put on by the University of Utah’s Institute for Dirty and Dangerous Energy, otherwise known by it’s double-speak Orwellian name, the Institute for Clean and Secure Energy. The conference this year placed special focus on tar sands development.

THE CLIMATE JUSTICE MOVEMENT NEEDS SUPPORT!  To make a donation, CLICK HERE!

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