SITLA’s Dirty Energy Hurts Schoolkids

UTSR gains first free expression permit of 2018.

As our first action of the new year we will attend SITLA’s monthly meeting at 9 am thursday january 4  and then we will have our free expression event with banners and protest tents at the SITLA retreat located at the Falls event center at 600 east and 600 south from 12-3:30. We will be setting up at 11 am.

Salt lake City provides this document with interesting information about free speech.

https://drive.google.com/drive/my-drive

Free Expression Definitions – SLC Free Expression Activity Permit Application
QUICK REFERENCE: First Amendment
Public Safety
Expressive Conduct
Fighting Words
Interference
Risk of Violence
1. The First Amendment’s guarantee of the right of free expression is a fundamental element of
our democratic system of government. However, that right of free expression is not absolute.
Some kinds of speech, such as obscenity, defamation, and fighting words, are not protected by
the First Amendment. In addition, to further significant governmental interests, the
government may regulate the time, place, and manner of the exercise of protected speech
rights.
An example of a “time” regulation is an ordinance banning loud noises in residential areas
during the night. An example of a “place” regulation is a requirement that parades not be held
on certain busy streets. An example of a “manner” regulation is a restriction on the size of
signs carried by picketers.
The government cannot impose speech restrictions simply because it disagrees with the
message of the speaker. In other words, government regulation of speech must be “contentneutral.”
Furthermore, a time, place, or manner regulation must advance a significant
governmental interest, not restrict more speech than necessary to further that interest, and
leave speakers with an ample alternative means to express them.
2. The City has a significant and compelling interest in maintaining the safety of people on
streets and sidewalks. That interest sometimes justifies restrictions on speech rights.
For example, the City can pass laws making it illegal to stand in the middle of the street, or to
block pedestrians on sidewalks. Those laws are valid, even when enforced against a person
who wants to speak in that street or on that sidewalk. The City may also establish temporary
regulations for a specific event to address the particular public safety concerns related to that
event.
For example, a particular event may generate much heavier pedestrian traffic than normal.
Furthermore, the police have a duty to protect people exercising their free speech rights from
violence aimed at them by a hostile audience.
3. Protected expression is not limited to the spoken or written word. People may communicate a
message through expressive conduct, such as wearing an armband, or burning the United
States flag, a draft card, or an effigy.
A person’s conduct is expressive if he or she intends to convey a particularized message, and
if it is very likely that people viewing the conduct will understand the message. Any
government attempt to restrict such expressive conduct must be unrelated to the suppression
FREE EXPRESSION
FREE EXPRESSION DEFINITIONS
SALT LAKE CITY CORP.
Salt Lake City Corporation
First Amendment Petition Definitions
Free Expression Activities
Free Expression Definitions – SLC Free Expression Activity Permit Application
of free speech. For example, the government could validly pass a law making it illegal to burn
anything (including the American flag) in a particular place due to the fire hazard. Such a law
is not aimed at speech, but rather at public safety. On the other hand, the government cannot
validly ban the burning of the flag simply because it believes that burning the flag is
unpatriotic.
Based on those principles, courts have held that many instances of expressive conduct were
protected, even though the conduct ridiculed government or religious leaders, religious
beliefs, or otherwise seriously offended many people.
4. As noted above, “fighting words” are not protected by the First Amendment, so the
government can treat them as disorderly conduct or a breach of the peace. Fighting words are
defined as personal insults: (1) directed at a particular person or small group of people, (2)
inherently likely to create a violent reaction, and (3) that play no role in the expression of
ideas.
It is not enough that the words are very insulting or highly offensive or arouse some people to
anger. Also, words are not fighting words if they are spoken to a crowd. Listeners are
expected to turn their heads and ignore such speech.
Whether particular speech constitutes fighting words depends on the circumstances of the
situation. However, even when speech is extremely annoying or offensive to listeners, courts
have been very tolerant and protective of such speech. In one case, a door-to-door missionary
played for two men a recording that attacked the men’s religion. The men became incensed
and were tempted to strike the missionary. The United States Supreme Court held that the
missionary’s speech (the recording) was not fighting words.
Expressive conduct is also subject to the fighting words analysis. As with traditional speech,
however, courts are very protective of such symbolic speech. For example, the United States
Supreme Court held that a law was unconstitutional that made it illegal to “desecrate a
venerated object” such as a flag, if the desecrator knew it would seriously offend observers.
The court overturned the conviction of a man who burned an American flag in protest.
Similarly, courts have held that the display, ridicule, and even burning of effigies of public
figures do not amount to fighting words.
However, there are limits. In a recent case a group of protesters formed a semicircle around a
woman and for six minutes shouted at her that she was “a whore, harlot, and Jezebel.” A court
held that those were fighting words under the circumstances. Notably, the words were
directed specifically at the woman.
5. Speakers in a speech event have a constitutional right not to have their message interfered
with by other speakers. A physical intrusion is such an unconstitutional interference. For
example, the sponsor of a private parade cannot be forced to allow in the parade a float that
communicates a message with which the sponsors disagree. Also, if a group reserved public
Salt Lake City Corporation
First Amendment Petition Definitions
Free Expression Activities
Free Expression Definitions – SLC Free Expression Activity Permit Application
space for a silent candlelight vigil, it would be improper for the government to grant a rock
band a permit to hold a concert right next to the vigil.
Such interference could also include stalking a speaker in an intimidating way or trying to
block his sign with an even larger sign. Depending on the location and the circumstances,
heckling or shouting down of a speaker may constitute an infringement on that speaker’s free
speech rights.
The government is justified in restricting speech aimed at unwilling listeners if the listeners
are a “captive audience,” meaning they cannot conveniently avoid the speech by turning their
heads or walking away. Under this principle, courts have upheld laws requiring protesters to
keep their volume down near hospitals, courthouses, and private residences, in order not to
disturb people in those private places. Courts have also upheld bans on demonstrators entering
into churches without consent, but courts generally have not upheld efforts to prohibit
protesters from demonstrating on the sidewalk in front of places of worship (except to the
extent protesters block access to the church or their noise penetrates into the church).
6. The United States Supreme Court has said of the risk of violence: “A function of free speech
. . . is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition
of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with the conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.
Speech is often provocative and challenging.”
It is true that listeners sometimes dislike the message of a speaker, lose their temper, and
become violent. However, in such situations the speakers retain their constitutional right to
speak (short of “fighting words”), and it is the duty of the police to protect the speakers and
deal with the violent listeners. Courts reject a “heckler’s veto” that would silence a speaker
because of a hostile audience reaction.
On rare occasions, the government may have such an expectation of violence that it will
impose additional restrictions on how or where speech can occur. For example, if two groups
with strongly opposing viewpoints that have a history of violence intend to hold rallies next to
each other, the police may require them to remain a safe distance apart to reduce the risk of
violence.
Similarly, if members of a group have a history of blocking access and/or engaging in
physical violence while exercising their free speech rights, restrictions such as “buffer zones”
may be appropriate.

 

Bicycles Not Tar Sands!

Coming up Sept 2-4 free event.
Join UTSR for an exciting adventure  on the “Road to Nowhere” in the beautiful book cliffs. Bicycles are not required and folks can travel along and meet up or mix and match portions of driving and riding.

For a total ride of approx 40 miles over 2 days we will travel on a smooth highway. Seep Ridge Road, with a small amount of gravel road travel at each evenings camp site. The entire ride will be highly scenic and nature filled save the mine sites.

Seep Ridge road was built at great tax payer expense after years of lobbying from tar sands and oil shale development companies. The 45 mile road cost a total of $86.5 million.  The road is of very high load standards and is actually a higher quality road than Utah hwy 40 however there is very little traffic or use of the road. It provides a very smooth traveling road for bicycles through an amazing scenic plateau known as the Eastern Tavaputs, the Bicycles Not Tar Sands bike ride is on the Tavaputs Plateau within Ute nation’s Uncompahgre reservation boundaries . Many of Utah’s politicians, SITLA, Uintah county leaders and the federal department of Energy have labeled this area an “energy sacrifice zone” and  repeatedly attempt to take this land from the Utes. We will end our 2nd day of the ride at Willow Creek overlook where we will camp overnight. Bring your bike this labor day weekend and join our bike ride.

For more information go here:

http://www.tarsandsresist.org/upcoming-events/

 

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