Utah Oil Slick funding polluters instead of Rural Communities

Report: Utah Board Misused Public Money on Fossil Fuel Projects, Failed to Fund Rural Community Needs

dust on seep ridge road utah

The Community impact board provides a smoke screen for sweetheart projects to receive public money with little or no input from the public.

The Utah Clean Infrastructure Coalition released a report today showing Utah’s Permanent Community Impact Fund Board has funneled more than $109 million in public money to projects that promote or expand fossil fuel extraction, violating the federal Mineral Leasing Act.

Utah Oil Slick funding polluters instead of Rural Communities

The report also documents that needed infrastructure projects in rural communities are not funded while Utah leaders use federal lease revenues and royalties to help the fossil fuel industry, by funding polluters, including a proposed oil railway and oil refinery.

Utah is funding polluters instead of Rural Communities

The Community impact board is funding several polluting projects with royalties that were intended for rural communities.

Oil, gas and coal companies pay the federal government for the right to develop federally owned minerals on public lands and pay royalties for any minerals they extract. Congress intended this money to be used to help rural communities experiencing rapid growth and infrastructure challenges because of fossil fuel extraction.

Utah is responsible for allocating the money to affected communities. But today’s report found a large portion managed by the governor-appointed Permanent Community Impact Fund Board has been used to enable fossil fuel extraction. Meanwhile, millions of dollars of community projects identified by rural communities have gone unfunded, including water and sewer services, recreation centers, road improvements and public safety equipment.

Surface Transportation board rendering of the Uinta Basin Oil train.

Today’s report amplifies the findings of a 2020 report from Utah’s Office of the Legislative Auditor General, which raised serious concerns about the Community Impact Board, including that the board improperly funded economic development projects. The board continues to misuse public funds despite the audit’s findings and recommendations.

news articles:

Deseret News story

Fox 13 story

KUER News story

Utah Tar Sands Resistance is proud to be a part of the Utah Clean Infrastructure Coalition. 

Petroteq Energy receives a stop work order again!

Petroteq Energy receives a stop work order again!

Petroteq Energy has been running an illegal operation over at TMM Asphalt Ridge Mine near the green river south of Vernal. Formerly known as MCW this project has received several stop orders and citations from state agencies and inspectors. 

Petroteq receives stop work order again

Petroteq is a scam

Inspection report May 2020: “Conclusions and Recommendations: Operation has been ordered to vacate by the property owner. The lease is no longer valid. The operator has been cited for improper storage of deleterious materials and unpaid permit fees under MN-2020-60-01. The abatement requires immediately retaining a licensed disposal contractor to inventory and dispose of all petroleum and hazardous materials.”

Inspection report May 14, 2021: “Valkor and Greenfield established a joint venture back in March 2020. Plant construction was completed in December. The operator ran out of ore to process and set up an agreement with Tar Sands Holdings II to purchase more ore to bring to the property. Valkor asked the property owner for an extension to the terms of the lease allowing for an extension to produce more oil by end of year. According to the operator it is too expensive and currently not economical to mine the ore from the pit. The plan is to test the plant and once it is determined to be operational then mined material from the pit will be used. There are no immediate plans to the mine the pit material. The oil sand from the off-site source was estimated to be approximately 500 tons. Operator has identified a buyer for the sand material. The company planned to conduct further exploration to evaluate the resource which was scheduled to resume in June.”

from DNR inspection report

Petroteq receives stop work order again.

Processing material from a mine not on site requires a different permit. Petroteq does not have a permit to do what they describe here to April Abate, the inspector. Who makes a stop work order:

Cessation order May 14, 2021: “Facility is processing material from an off-site source and staging waste products from off-site sources not in accordance with the most recently approved Notice of Intent dated October 27, 2017. “

Meanwhile Greenfield is formed from TOMCO (out of London) investors who already got ripped off on the Red Leaf project on Seep Ridge Road, and Valkor. Greenfield is duping folks into buying shares in this charade of a mine and processing facility. 

May 25 Findings of fact order resulting from stop work conference 

On May 21, 2021 a stop work conference was held at the request of Greenfield energy and Petroteq was ordered to comply or cease by July 1 2021.

zombie mine plan rises at PR Springs

2020 Resources changes name and owners to revive scam operation at PR Springs.

Like a zombie that comes back from the grave, the Tar Sands scam is too lucrative to die. 2020 Resources formerly known as US Oil Sands, has recently changed its contact address and agent info to David Sealock. David Sealock resigned as the CEO of Petroteq on March 31, 2020.As the CEO of Petroteq, Mr. Sealock was able to rip off shareholders and local businesses in Uintah county. Successfully milking the Petroteq tar sands scam project before moving on to buy 2020 Resources. 2020 Resources LLC, A division of Sky Quarry Inc. 136 East South Temple, Suite 1400 PMB 589. Salt Lake City www.skyquarry.com has filed a notice of intention to revise large mining operations at PR Springs Utah. Permit file M0470090. 

From the permit file Utah mine inspector April Abate writes:

On Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 11:38 AM: “Jamie, We will still need to have the layout the solvent extraction process details in your new mine plan. This will undoubtedly affect the type of equipment and machinery you will be using at the facility. This will likely change at least some of the equipment currently at the facility that is listed in the bond cost spreadsheets. Once we receive your significant revision to the mine plan, we have 30 days to review it and make comments. Typically we will have comments that require you to respond to so that will be another few weeks for your company to review and submit the responses. Once/if we issue a tentative approval decision, we ask for the new reclamation bond then it will go to a 30-day public comment period. This project has been fiercely contested in the past, so I would expect that you would receive opposition comments to reactivate the operation. If the opposing parties ask for an informal hearing then it could take even longer. Based on my past experience with this operation, your schedule of mid-summer 2021 is probably not very realistic given the time it will take to revise the permit and the potential for opposition given this mine’s history. I just need to be honest with you about this. You should also check in with the Utah Division of Environmental Quality – Groundwater Protection Division to see if they are going to require a groundwater discharge permit for your operation. They may have their own requirements depending upon how you will engineer your solvent extraction system.”      

idle mine owned by 2020 resources

View of mine processing are from Seep Ridge Road

Sky Quarry bought a bankrupt project that has NEVER produced oil commercially. However these people involved seem to have no intention of actually producing a viable product. This mine at PR Springs is an important piece of the charade that is tar sands in Utah. What is being extracted from PR Springs and the other tar sands projects in Utah is investors money.

The companies that run these rip off mines are also damaging the environment. They are polluting waters and leaving a mess on the land. Local businesses in Uintah county have given credit and services to these “Foreign Limited Liability companies” who can bankrupt and default on debts over and over. Meanwhile paying their directors large salaries from investors’ monies.

Sky Quarry makes fantastic claims of clean and green projects to lure investors.

From Sky Quarrys web page: “Sky Quarry is a true green R3 (recycle, reuse, reduce) clean technology company – developing the science, engineering the technology, which will bring in a new era of sustainable recycle and reuse of asphalt shingle waste material and environmentally clean oil (ECO) production.”

Sky Quarry is now describing strip mining as REMEDIATION. A new trend in the tar sands scam circuit. 

From Linkedin: ” Environmentally clean, yet collaborative, Sky Quarry’s process removes asphalt bitumen from the asphalt shingle waste, contaminated soil remediation or oil saturated sands, without the use of valuable water resources and limiting the greenhouse gas exposure to our environment.”

Zombie mine plan should die

Sunset in PR Springs Canyon

MMIW awareness may 5 2021

Honoring those Missing in Utah, Red Dolls with the names of missing people reflect only a portion of all those affected.

Did you know May 5th is Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Day of Remembrance in Utah?

Join MMIW+ of Utah,  Restoring Ancestral Winds and representative Angela Romero for a Webinar on May 5th to learn about MMIW and what is happening in Utah.

Tar sands mining and other extreme extraction of fossil fuels harms Indigenous women, children and men. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Utah formed to raise awareness about this issue and to listen to and honor the people who are affected by this issue. Utah Tar Sands Resistance participates as an ally to MMIW+ of Utah by sitting as a volunteer on the MMIW+ of Utah committee formed by PANDOS.  

May 5, 2021 at 6:00-7:00pm MST for a discussion and Q&A on Utah’s MMIW+ Taskforce with Representative Angela Romero and Restoring Ancestral Winds.

Use this link to join the webinar or tune in to the MMIW+ of Utah Facebook page to watch live: https://zoom.us/j/93989634088

MMIW+ of Utah Chair, Michelle Brown, will facilitate the webinar and read questions from participants at the end of the discussion.

Our agenda includes:
-A brief history of MMIW+ issue in Utah
-A discussion with task force leaders Rep. Angela Romero and Denae Shanidiin of Restoring Ancestral Winds
-Q&A session with questions from our audience and participants

Proposed Book Cliffs Highway cancelled

Resistance against tar sands development

Book Cliffs Highway Cancelled

The Book Cliffs Highway, a massive proposed public subsidy to the fossil fuel industry, extending seep ridge road through Grand County to I-70 was just cancelled.

The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (SCIC) has been pursuing this project against public opposition for several years. In 2015 the Grand County Council pulled out of the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (SCIC) in order to avoid being outvoted over support for this project. This unnecessary project through a steep and wild canyon would have been expensive and destructive. 

Estimated Project Cost:*
Construction for East Canyon Route:  $157 Million
   

Maintenance Estimate (20 years): $27 Million
   
Yearly Maintenance: $1.35 million

* These estimates are from the Book Cliffs Transportation Corridor Studyothers have ranged as high as $418 million in construction costs with annual maintenance and operating costs as high as $3.89 million.

The SCIC will petition the legislature to re-appropriate the remaining funds that will no longer be used on the highway. The SCIC proposes to give approximately 2.8 million dollars to the Uintah Basin Special services district to pay for maintenance on the existing Seep Ridge road that ends at the Grand county Line near the defunct US Oil sands tar sands pit and processing factory. 

biking on the road to nowhere

Seep Ridge road built for oil and gas is mostly empty. The UTSR bike ride follows Seep Ridge from “the Horn” to the Willow Creek overlook.

 

Uinta Basin Railway Comment Period extended until Feb 12 2021

 

STB rendering of the proposed Uinta Basin Oil train.

 

Uinta Basin Railway Comment Period has been extended until Feb 12 2021, and YOU can still add your comment to the Draft EIS. Utah Tar Sands Resistance has been working with the Center for Biological Diversity and others to stop this expensive subsidy. Follow the links below to add your comment. Please share.

Here are some ideas for commenting.

The proposed Uinta Basin Railway would be a train wreck for our air, wildlands, climate and communities. This multi-billion-dollar boondoggle would ruin more than 10,000 acres of habitat for migratory wildlife and endangered species while worsening the climate crisis. 

But you can help stop it.

Rendering of proposed uinta basin oil train

Uinta basin oil train will require several expensive tunnels and numerous stream crossings.

The Surface Transportation Board has released this project’s draft environmental impact statement for review by the public. But the board is only accepting comments until Feb. 12, 2021 so you need to take action now.

The STB states:

“Based on the analysis in the Draft EIS, OEA concludes that construction and operation of any of the alternatives would result in significant environmental impacts. Major impacts would include temporary and permanent impacts on surface waters and wetlands; impacts on biological resources, including federally listed threatened and endangered species and other protected species; permanent changes to land uses on public and private lands; and noise impacts on residences near the proposed rail line during rail operations” Oil and gas extraction are already poisoning the Uinta Basin, harming people and wildlife. The proposed railway would make things much worse — in fact, it could quadruple crude-oil extraction while tearing up habitat for species like the greater sage grouse and endangered Barnaby ridge-cress. 

Tell the Surface Transportation Board to stop the Uinta Basin Railway in its tracks.

Use the links above to comment through the CBD “fast action” page or comment directly here:

http://www.uintabasinrailwayeis.com/PublicInvolvement.aspx

 
 

Vivakor is scamming SITLA

Public comment to SITLA board of trustees Aug 13 2020.

Raphael Cordray Utah Tar Sands Resistance

Good Morning. I want to tell the board how they are being used to defraud investors and local communities as well as defrauding the Trust through questionable business practices. And I ask you to stop this. SITLA and the board of trustees have a duty to make sure that they and the trust are not being used to generate transactions for pump and dump penny stock scams. SITLA has spent trust money to create an OBA for Viva Ventures Oil Sands LLC. On March 20, 2019, the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration Board of Trustees approved this OBA for Viva Ventures Inc. Viva ventures subsequently made a the following paid press release:

“Utah Trust Lands Board Approval Substantially Increases Vivakor Oil Sand Resources LAS VEGAS, NV / ACCESSWIRE / March 25, 2019 / Vivakor, Inc. (OTC PINK: VIVK ), a technology and asset acquisition company with a focus in the area of natural resources, received approval from the Board of Trustees for the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) for a bituminous/Asphaltic sands mineral lease in a 1440 acre area of Eastern Utah known to have enormous heavy crude, bituminous sand deposits. ″We are pleased the SITLA Board unanimously approved this mineral lease, allowing us to work with the State organization in verifying the asset reserve and ultimately deploying our technology on this vast 1440 acre area. We have a great working relationship with them, successfully operating on their properties previously, demonstrating our commitment to the area and the viability of our technology. Our Remediation Processing Centers (RPCs) are the key to unlocking and finally monetizing the literal billions of barrels of heavy crude trapped within sands in Eastern Utah,″ stated Vivakor Chief Executive Officer Matt Nicosia.”

#END OF PRESS RELEASE#

On March 20, 2019 Trent Staggs appeared before the SITLA board and agreed to terms for a special lease with SITLA, he made inaccurate claims and promises to the SITLA board who approved the contract. I understand that Vivakor never signed the contract with SITLA and VIVAKOR is not leasing anything from SITLA.

However the VIVAKOR press release was used to stimulate stock transactions and generate investment and trust in Viva Ventures and Vivakor. This was a classic pump and dump. VIVAKOR issued mis-information to drive up their stock price and then the directors dumped their worthless stock options into the heated market. At the March 20, 2019 SITLA meeting it was shown by a member of the public that Viva Ventures Oil Sands Inc. had an expired business registration and thus was not authorized to do business with SITLA or anyone in Utah. Further questions were raised at the meeting about this transaction by Director Foote and Director Woodbury. however the board still approved the contract. Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs represented Viva Ventures Oil Sands at the public meeting and testified on behalf of the company in their effort to gain approval from the board for an OBA they had no intention of executing. Here is a portion of his statement: “Um I’m here, I’m an elected official in this state. I’m very vested in this community and our our company is as well” …. Most absurdly he claimed they would clean up mother nature’s mess in Eastern Utah:

“This land owned by sitla, the sitla property can be successfully a remediated we view it all the same it is remediation whether we are cleaning up a oil spills in the middle east or we like to say we are cleaning up mother nature’s mess in eastern Utah” -Trent Staggs

Vivakor is scamming SITLA

Trent Staggs says he will clean up mother natures mess. Here is an area Vivakor will “remediate”

Mr Woodbury pointed out that remediation is not the same as subsurface mining. SITLA director, David Ure vouched for Viva Ventures and encouraged the approval. It was stated by Jerry Mansfield that they have a process to check if a company is licensed to do business in Utah before they sign the lease.

Why doesn’t the staff verify the license of an applicant for an OBA before spending staff time and resources on creating an OBA that may never be signed?

What follow up has been done on this contract why has the board and the public not been told that the deal never went through?

How much time and money was spent on this OBA arrangement?

What will the board do to keep from being used like this to manipulate stock prices?

Tar sands and oil shale are frequently used as a tool for scamming investors

This board has a duty to respond to the repeated use of SITLA lands, lease holds, resources and staff to perpetuate false value in impossible plans to turn rocks into oil. How many companies will you aid in defrauding communities, investors, tax payers and most importantly the school trust?

Here are some of the tar sands and oil shale projects which have used SITLA

and never completed there project or made money for SITLA: US Oil Sands now renamed 2020 resources, Red Leaf Resources, MCW Energy now renamed as Petroteq energy and  Enefit. These companies have however generated significant financial investments from investors and local communities. Although none of these companies are profitable they do pay large salaries to their ceo’s.

Shame on SITLA for continuing to ignore this scam.

 

SITLA board meeting

Join the Virtual SITLA Board meeting

this Thursday, August 13, 2020 @ 10 am.

Banner "SITLAs

US Oil sands went bankrupt and defaulted on payments to SITLA.

Remember SITLA? They control Utah School Trust Lands therefore including leases for waste disposal, fracking, grazing, mining  and strip mines for coal and oil.  Recently SITLA claimed limited interest in Solar Power applications.  Is this changing? 

Listen, Watch, and Make a Comment on ZOOM. 

SITLA will hold a monthly board meeting on Thursday August 13 at 10 am.

See the agenda here with instructions.

Children with banner on SITLA land

SITLA land on Seep Ridge road should be restored to the Ute tribe. It is part of the Uncompahgre reservation stolen through the dawes act.

Public comment is encouraged and occurs at the beginning of the meeting

You can register now or by 9:50 am Thursday if possible. 

You can also submit a written comment.  

UTSR filed a lawsuit against SITLA

UTSR fought for public accountability and transparency from SITLA. By filing a lawsuit against the SITLA Board and Exec. Director David Ure for their lack of transparency and accountability.

UTSR vigil at PR Springs

Utah Tar Sands Resistance does direct action AND attends SITLA board meetings.

Here is how it happened.  In January 2018 SITLA  (School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration), held a Board Meeting and Retreat where they mistakenly handed me a Confidential Agenda. Most importantly, the SITLA Board’s use of a confidential agenda was a serious violation of the Utah Open Public Meetings act (OPMA). Therefore, after hours of research, talking to attorneys and help from many sources, I sued SITLA myself and on behalf of Utah Tar sands Resistance for  the OPMA violation. See the lawsuit here: Cordray vs SITLA

Yipee!

SITLA acknowledged mistakes and makes some improvements

In the year since I have met with attorneys for SITLA several times and sought many improvements to SITLA’s public meeting process.  As a result of this lawsuit SITLA has corrected earlier mistakes and is proposing a settlement agreement for SITLA to follow and exceed OPMA requirements. We are currently continuing to negotiate an agreement with SITLA to settle this lawsuit. 

SITLA board meeting

SITLA director David Ure

 

We have had a lot of movement and improvement on virtual meetings. For instance  SITLA agreed to make all board members visible on the screen at the same time (gallery view). Also they now allow live public comment during the meeting including verbatim reading of written comments into the record by SITLA staff. Other areas of focus have been the requirements for specificity of the agenda and proper public notice as well as applying the specificity to the closed meeting topics on public agendas. 

I hope you will join me this Thursday, August 13, 2020 @ 10 am for the Virtual SITLA Board meeting.  You can register now or by 9:50 am Thursday if possible.

Trent Staggs a bad choice for county mayor

Trent Staggs is a bad choice for Salt lake County Mayor. He is currently the mayor of Riverton city. He is also involved in Vivakor, who call themselves an oil field extraction and remediation technology company. Vivakor has a long history of investors claiming they were scammed. Trent Staggs is Vivakor’s strategic development adviser. 

Trent Staggs works for a ponzi scheme

Vivakor strategic development advisor is a bad choice for county mayor.

Under Mr. Staggs direction Vivakor or Vivaventures LLC  is a scamming Utah’s school children. 

Last year Vivakor Inc made this strategic claim in a paid press release:

″We are pleased the SITLA Board unanimously approved this mineral lease, allowing us to work with the State organization in verifying the asset reserve and ultimately deploying our technology on this vast 1440 acre area. We have a great working relationship with them, successfully operating on their properties previously, demonstrating our commitment to the area and the viability of our technology… stated Vivakor Chief Executive Officer Matt Nicosia.

Trent Staggs appeared before the SITLA board and agreed to terms for a special lease he made inaccurate claims and promises to the SITLA board who approved the contract. Vivakor never signed the contract and is not leasing anything from SITLA

Mother natures mess

Trent Staggs says they will “clean up mother natures mess in Eastern Utah”

Currently Vivakor has no actual SITLA lease because they never signed the contract SITLA prepared and approved. They do use repeated press releases to generate interest in VIVK stocks and aid in a long standing pattern of pump and dump stock transactions.

Vivakor has also obtained grants for government aid and defaulted. 

On June 17, 2020 Vivaventures precious metals a subsidiary of Vivakor, received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the federal government for covid relief funds. 

VivaRRT LLC. a subsidiary of Vivakor has a debt collection judgement against them from Stubbs & Stubbs Oil Field Construction, Inc. out of Vernal Utah.

Vivakor timeline and document list from UTSR research and GRAMA requests.

 

 

Tar sands future looks bleak

I cannot help thinking about the Earth and nature as we watch humans around the world stop many daily activities. Civilization as we know it is on hold and the air and water are getting clearer everyday.

Land leased for tar sands in Uintah county

Columbine on tar sands lease hold in Uintah county

As the value of oil and gas collapses it reveals more problems created by fossil fuel dependency. Now is the time to turn to renewable energy.

Tar Sands value in Canada was falling even before the Covid 19 pandemic. In Utah tar sands has never made a profit. It is clear that we should stop wasting money and land on extreme energy projects like tar sand and oil shale development in Utah.  

Stripmines waste Utah SITLA wastes Utah's trust.

Banner about SITLA displayed before 2017 bicycle ride.

For several years now SITLA has been promoting speculative tar sands projects that will never come to commercial success. Many groups have been saying this to SITLA for several years. By promoting unrealistic extreme energy projects and fossil fuel speculation on school trust lands SITLA added credibility to an old scam.

Banner at PR Springs on Seep Ridge Road

tar sands future is bleak in Utah.

Now they are going to try and save a sinking ship The Salt Lake Tribune reported last week:

“SITLA is looking at policy changes to give operators some relief, Adams said, such as waiving the standard penalty on those who shut in wells and extending the terms of leases.”

SITLA is facing a sharp decrease in revenue from the pandemic they should not be providing relief to fossil fuel projects.