We’ve Moved Our Vigil to SITLA!

BREAKING: Utah Tar Sands Resistance has moved our protest vigil to SITLA, the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, located in downtown Salt Lake City!

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That’s right, we rolled in with our water barrels, tents, and banners, and set up shop at high noon today.

Join us if you can. Bring food or coffee, and it will be a party.

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SITLA's dirty work banner

Read the press release:

Utah Tar Sands Resistance
Stages 24-Hour Vigil on Lawn of SITLA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY, UT: On October 21 at noon, members of Utah Tar Sands Resistance and supporters launched a 24-hour vigil in front of SITLA (School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration) in Salt Lake City. This summer and fall, beginning in mid-May, they have been holding an ongoing protest encampment in the Book Cliffs of eastern Utah, at the site where US Oil Sands is attempting to start the first commercial tar sands mine in the U.S. Now, they have brought their protest to the front doors of the agency responsible for leasing the lands, SITLA, located at 500 S/700 E, Salt Lake City.

The group chose to launch their vigil the day before SITLA’s next board meeting, which will take place at 9 a.m. on October 22. SITLA’s board is stacked with developers chosen by the governor, and its decisions to lease land for the world’s dirtiest energy sources—like tar sands and oil shale—stand in stark contrast to its mandate to never sacrifice short-term gains for the long-term wellbeing of Utah’s children.

In reality, SITLA contributes just 1–2% of the public schools’ budget. What do SITLA’s choices actually give the residents of Utah? The high rate of infant mortality in the Uintah Basin and the red air days in the Salt Lake Valley during which children and pregnant women are told to stay indoors, for starters. Human health will be jeopardized even more if the world’s dirtiest projects are allowed to take root in Utah. Along with decimated ecosystems, dwindling watersheds, and climate chaos, these realities show that SITLA’s choices are giving our children a toxic and frightening future, leaving them to cope with previous generations’ mistakes.

Jill Merritt, a mother of four and a grandmother, says, “SITLA’s choices put my grandchildren and future generations in grave danger, leaving them with a world torn apart by climate chaos, poisoned rivers, and toxic air. We call on SITLA to immediately rescind their leases for tar sands and oil shale, and start focusing on the long-term wellbeing of our children.”

Utah Tar Sands Resistance encourages all concerned members of the public to join them in standing up for a livable future. Their vigil is a family-friendly environment that they hope will serve as a public forum in which people can discuss their concerns about the management of public lands and resources. They will be recording stories on the site for a video project on this issue, and they invite kids, parents, and other members of the public to come share about their concerns for the environment and their love of Utah’s public lands.

Join us June 19-21 for the 3rd Annual Intergenerational Campout!

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Join us June 19-21 for our Third Annual Intergenerational Campout, bringing together families to protect future generations from tar sands mining!

This is a unique opportunity to camp out in the scenic Book Cliffs of Eastern Utah with your family and friends and a group of people dedicated to climate justice.

Fun and informative activities will be planned throughout the weekend for adults and children of various ages.

At the first campout, in 2013, year a group of families converged at PR Springs, site of the first proposed tar sands mine in the United States. While there, everyone from a 2-year-old and pre-teens to grandparents spent time exploring the land with local organizers, hiking, birdwatching, water testing, and, most importantly, learning about US Oil Sands’ project and witnessing the devastation already being wrought by their 9-acre test site.

Last year, a group of familiSONY DSCes took nonviolent direct action together by marching onto the nearby Red Leaf oil shale site to demand to see their operation. Red Leaf claimed it was building the largest oven in the world to process oil shale, but has been keeping it hidden from the public.

The School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), the State of Utah, and US Oil Sands would have us believe that the tar sands & oil shale projects moving forward in Eastern Utah are all for the benefit of the children. For, they would say, isn’t all the money from the Trust Lands being leased for extreme fossil fuel development going towards education? No. SITLA’s annual contribution to education accounts for only about 1 percent of the state’s $3 billion-plus education budget. With every parcel of stolen land leased for development and extraction, and every acre sacrificed, the more the land is devastated, the water put at risk and polluted, and the air filled with dust and toxins, the future of our children, and of future generations, becomes more and more bleak.

The short term gains from destroying the Book Cliffs, and turning Colorado Plateau into a sacrifice zone, is not worth the future of our children. Come see what’s at risk. Come take a stand.

FOR DIRECTIONS TO THE AREA & TIPS FOR CAMPING, VISIT OUR CONNECT WITH THE LAND PAGE.

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Join the Zombies and Fire Barrel Protest at the Governor’s Energy Summit!

 

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May 21, all day (fire barrel); noon (zombies)

Yep, you read that right. We’ve been hearing rumors that a horde of zombies is preparing to descend on this gathering of some of the world’s dirtiest polluters. The destruction that folks like Governor Gary Herbert (“Dirty Herby”), Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute, and Cameron Todd of U.S. Oil Sands leave in their wake will not remain invisibilized—these zombies will make sure of it.

Cameron Todd, one of the scheduled speakers, aims to strip mine a vast area of the East Tavaputs Plateau for tar sands. The zombies will make sure the people of Salt Lake know just how destructive these toxic industries are.

Luckily, we’re prepared, as fire barrels at the Governor’s Energy Summit are a time-honored tradition. Those gathering around the fire are sure to be safe from both blood-thirsty zombies and oil tycoons (we think). Join  us at 300 West, at the garage entrance to the Salt Palace, to welcome attendees in the morning between 7-8 a.m., or join us later if you can’t make it that early.

Want to be a zombie? Dress for the part and come stagger along with the rest of the horde! Meet up with the group at Gallivan Plaza (239 Main St.) by the big rock sculpture at high noon, and march (err, stagger) to the Salt Palace with them.  As some of the worst polluters in the country scheme about destroying the air, waters, and land we all depend on, the zombies will give them a wake up call about the future they’re creating.

The seas are rising, and so are the zombies. Join them.

Stop Dirty Herbert

https://www.facebook.com events/748438705275014/

 

At the Edge of the World: Fighting Tar Sands Strip Mining in Eastern Utah

Dirty Energy Kills

A presentation by tar sands resisters

Wednesday, May 13, 6:30 to 8:45

Meet & greet at 6:30 p.m.
eventstarts at 7:00 pm

SLC Main Public Library Auditorium

Last summer, 26 people were arrested on Utah’s East Tavaputs Plateau for taking direct action to halt construction of the first potential tar sands mine in the U.S. The grassroots groups Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising maintained a 5-month protest vigil in the potential sacrifice zone from May through October. Hear land defenders share their experiences of taking direct action against one of the greatest threats to our land, water, air, and climate–and what they plan to do next.

Campaign members will share what it was like to live on the land for months at a stretch, witnessing both incredible destruction and beauty. They’ll describe upcoming campaign plans and how to get involved.

Land defenders will also explain the dangers of tar sands mining, what the process involves, and why direct action is the last and best option for stopping this mine. A Q&A will follow.

https://www.facebook.com events/878427792230512/

Press release: Utah tar sands opponents to be sentenced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Utah tar sands opponents to be sentenced

VERNAL–Plea agreements reached between the Uintah County Attorney’s office and 25 tar sands opponents arrested in July and September, some charged with felonies, will be revealed in 8th District Court Thursday at 9 AM.

Can’t make it to Vernal?
A representative of the defendants will be available for interviews and on-camera comments
at 2:30 pm Thursday, January 8
in front of the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City immediately following the hearing

Construction of the US Oil Sands tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of Utah was halted for one week in July due to protesters’ efforts to stop the project. They say all levels of government and corporate investors have failed to stop the misguided project and so everyday people have had to step in.

“This tar sands mine isn’t safe for drinking water, it’s a huge contribution to climate catastrophe, it’s destroying vital animal habitat, it’s destroying Mother Earth seized from indigenous people, and will make the region’s air even more toxic for everyone,” said Raphael Cordray of Utah Tar Sands Resistance. “It’s not even safe for investors who are exposed to so much litigation risk attached to all those dangerous factors that violate the public trust.”

State and county government have strongly supported the development of tar sands and oil shale strip mines, in part by funding and building a 70-mile highway–named Seep Ridge Road–without which the tar sands project would be financially unfeasible. Court challenges were unsuccessful.

Protesters say the heavy-handed charges have drawn more attention to the campaign and attracted even more eager supporters. “The urgency to stop this project continues despite the repression from the state and police,” Cordray said. “This project is life-threatening and violent. As more people learn about, more people are inspired to do what they can to stop it. This project is so awful that resistance is inevitable.”

In the largest protest action, on July 21, about 80 protesters in pre-dawn hours swarmed a fenced equipment yard. Several locked their bodies to construction equipment and blocked entrance to the yard and hung a banner reading “U are Tresspassing on Ute Land.” After about 11 people were extracted and arrested there, a second segment of people sat in the roadway temporarily blocking police vehicles from leaving. In all, 21 people were arrested that day, seven of whom were charged with felonies including rioting.

On Septmeber 23, disguised in chipmunk masks, a group of just five people were able to shut down work at the sprawling 200-acre construction site.

In all during 2014, police arrested 26 people for various actions that disrupted the tar sands mine’s activity. Many disruptive actions occurred in which police were able to arrest no one. Thursday’s hearing will conclude the last of the court cases attached to 2014 actions against the tar sands mine construction.

Media Contact
Raphael Cordray
801-503-2149

Nov. 8: Fire on the Plateau! A day of music & resistance

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Join us on Saturday, November 8th, starting at 4pm, for FIRE ON THE PLATEAU: a day of free music and resistance, at the Fort Duchesne Multipurpose Gym (Ft. Duchesne Cirle) on the Uintah and Ouray Ute Reservation.

Featuring: Indigenize, Nataanii Means, War Party, Ant Loc (from Savage Family), Alas, Definition Rare, All Systems Fail, Requiem, Triple Shot Mustangs, and Almas Fronterizas.

Sponsored by KSJD’s Native Voltage (90.3FM), the Alcohol Substance Abuse Prevention Program, Peaceful Uprising, and the Utah Tar Sands Resistance.

The Vigil Continues

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A mass action camp here at PR Springs just ended last week, culminating in an ongoing week-long work shut-down for US Oil Sands. The energy of the 70+ participants from around the region amplified the resolve of our permanent presence to halt tar sands mine construction and foster new relationships with allies we can call upon in the future. While some friends have gone back to their various homes, we as a group feel more committed to defending this place than ever — and we aren’t going anywhere.

We’re also enjoying getting to know a new corner of this vast and beautiful land, a high spot near the edge of the sweeping green canyons of the Book Cliffs. Forested canyons plunge down into larger canyons that meet up with bigger canyons still, forming the behemoths that lead down to the plains some thousands of feet below. Groves of scrub oak give us shelter from the wind, and blood-red sunsets over the high desert mark the end of our days, leading into new moon nights of pure darkness scattered with flashes of far-off lightning storms. To the north, we can see the long-abandoned tar sands mine where we’ve observed a black bear scavenging
for food in the tar seeps, and beyond it, the rubble of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands test pit. Being here affirms for us that we are not just here to protect our beloved PR Springs canyon, where we so often stay, but the vast and diverse habitats that stretch through the entirety of this land.

Sitting above the sprawling web of canyons that seem to bear up the plateau on the spines of their strong backs reminds me that each one is slightly or sometimes dramatically different, filled with different species and relationships between them, different patterns in how plants, animals, and fungi move through the world and down the canyon slopes. Some are sandy desert gardens, where bright green oaks and wildflowers pop out of sandstone outcrops; others are thickets of Douglas fir, Ponderosa, & Piñon. Every day I feel blessed to be here, and I have no interest in
going back to town. The plateau needs us, and we will do our best to fulfill the commitment we have made to this land, which has already given us so much.

If you want to get to know this amazing land and take part in the vigil, email tarsandsresist@riseup.net

VIDEO: Watching U.S. Oil Sands

This summer, as protestors gather at PR Springs, site of the first tar sands mine in the United States, for a permanent protest vigil, they are poised not only to observe the comings & goings of U.S. Oil Sands, the Canadian tar sands company setting up shop, but also to do something about it.

GET INVOLVED:
Donate money & supplies to the Resistance! Help us keep going!
Join us for the Intergenerational Campout, June 20-22
Tar Sands Healing Walk Solidarity Campout, June 27-29

Read the 1st dispatch from the front:
Red Leaf Resources scraping open a new strip mine

STAY TUNED! We’re just getting started, y’all.

In Solidarity with the Tar Sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta

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Join the Utah Tar Sands Resistance and our friends at PR Springs June 27-29th, at the site of the first tar sands mining in the United States, as we gather in solidarity with those on the Tar Sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tar sands and oil shale mining in the Book Cliffs are one part of a pervasive and destructive system that effects lands, air, water, animals and peoples all over the world. Multinational corporations are mining all over Turtle Island, and from the tar sands of Athabasca, to the first tar sands mine in the United States, to every pipeline being put into the ground, every megaload passing through communities and sacred lands, and every ounce of tar sands being refined, piped, trucked, railed, and shipped, we want to draw the connections between these projects, and stand in solidarity with all those who take a stand and say “No tar sands!”

For those able to travel, we ask that you please join those in Fort McMurray, Alberta as they perform the fifth and final Tar Sands Healing Walk.

Those of you who are unable to travel that far, please consider joining the Tar Sands Resistance at PR Springs for a community camping trip. We’ll be talking about the destruction and devastation in the Athabasca region, seeing first hand the destruction of the Book Cliffs, and drawing the connections between all of these projects.

Email us at tarsandsresist@riseup.net if you’ll be joining us, so that we can better coordinate carpooling, camping sites, and food for the gathering.

Visit our Connect with Land page for camping tips and directions.

Spend Memorial Day Weekend with the Resistance!

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Join the Utah Tar Sands Resistance and our friends on Memorial Day Weekend for a tar sands camping trip at PR Springs!

***TO HELP US PLAN CARPOOLS, CAMPING SITES & FOOD, EMAIL US AT TARSANDSRESIST@RISEUP.NET IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING***

PR Springs is the site of the first proposed tar sands mine in the United States, being run by a company called US Oil Sands (a Canadian company based out of Calgary). They have a lease on state land for over 36,000 acres, and are busy getting their permits, funding, and infrastructure into place. And we’re busy getting ready to stop them!

Come visit the land & see what’s at risk, before it’s too late!

Join the Facebook event, and invite your friends!

(Check out our “Connect with the Land” page for more information on what to expect while you’re there, directions, and camping tips).