Utah Tar Sands Intergenerational Campout – June 20-22

intergeneraltional meme 2

Join us June 20-22 for an intergenerational campout, bringing together families to project future generations from the Utah tar sands.

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.

Last 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, pre-teens, and Grandparents spent time exploring the land with local organizers, hiking, bird watching, water-testing, and, most importantly, learning about US Oil Sands’ project, and witnessing the devastation already being wrought by their 9-acre test site.

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.

***** SO THAT WE CAN BETTER ORGANIZE FOOD, CARPOOLING & CAMPING SITES, EMAIL US AT tarsandsresist@riseup.net IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON COMING. *****

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

US’s first tar sands mine facing opposition in Utah (KPFK Earth Watch)

Melanie Martin discusses growing opposition to tar sands mining in eastern Utah, and the disproportionate impact of Salt Lake City’s oil refineries on communities of color and low-income neighborhoods on KPFK’s Sojourner Truth Radio.

Tar Sands Campout – April 11 thru 13

tavaputs country-small

We’re planning a group campout April 11-13 at PR Springs, near the site of the first tar sands mine in the United States, and you’re all invited.

Though we are waiting on a ruling from the Utah Supreme Court on the status of their permits, US Oil Sands, a Canadian tar sands company, received an $80 million investment late last year and they’re gearing up to spend a lot of that in 2014, building infrastructure necessary for their operation, and beginning to remove so-called “overburden” on their strip mine.

Come visit PR Springs before it’s irreparably impacted by this terrible project.

The state of Utah, and US Oil Sands, would have us believe that this area is ugly, useless to anyone but them, and that the only good it can provide is to be used for extraction. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Come connect with the land.

Check out our Connect with the Land page if you have any questions about the camping conditions, or need directions to PR Springs. Other questions? Email us at utahtarsandsresistance@gmail.com

On Facebook? Join the event and invite your friends.

(Press Release) Utah Supreme Court: Living Rivers v US Oil Sands

Join the Facebook Event & come pack the courtroom!

Utah Supreme Court

Utah Supreme Court: Living Rivers v US Oil Sands
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
John Weisheit
Living Rivers & Colorado Riverkeeper
PO Box 466; Moab, UT 84532
Office: 435-259-1063; Mobile: 435-260-2590
john@livingrivers.org

Supreme Court to hear legal challenge over tar sands strip mine on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014.

Landmark case in Utah’s Supreme Court will determine the state’s obligation to protect groundwater

Continue reading

Canadian Company Called U.S. Oil Sands Will Soon Start Extracting Utah’s Tar Sands

by Anne Landman (reposted from DesmogBlog)

Grand_Junction_Trip_92007_012Think only Canadians need to worry about tar sands extraction? Think again.

In October, U.S. Oil Sands, Inc. joined Kentucky-based Arrakis Oil Recovery as the second company to receive a permit to produce U.S. tar sands. The Utah Water Quality Board gave U.S. Oil Sands a permit to extract 2,000 barrels of oil per day from Utah’s tar sands reserves.

Despite its name, U.S. Oil Sands is actually a Canadian outfit based in Calgary, Alberta. The company currently holds leases on just over 32,000 acres in Utah’s Uintah Basin. U.S. Oil Sands’ mining will take place at PR Spring on the Colorado Plateau in an area called the Bookcliffs, which straddles the Utah/Colorado border.

U.S. Oil Sands’ water-and-energy-intensive extraction process involves first digging up congealed tar sands, then crushing them to reduce their size. The company then mixes the crushed sand with large amounts of hot water (at a temperature of 122-176°F) to loosen up and liquefy the tarry, oil-containing residue and separating it from the sand.

Next, coarse solids sink, are subsequently removed and considered waste tailings. Air is then bubbled through the remaining water-oil mixture, which makes the oil float to the top in what’s referred to as “bitumen froth,” in industry lingo. The froth is then deaerated, meaning all the air molecules are removed.

When it finally gets to this point in the production process, the mixture is still so thick it can’t be pumped through pipelines.

Thus, it undergoes even more treatment with a hydrocarbon solvent to reduce the viscosity and density of the sludge. Wastes from the process — which contain water contaminated with chemicals and unrecoverable oils — are called “middlings” and will be disposed of in surface tailings ponds and kept long-term.

Commercial Viability, Few Jobs, Utah Water Crisis

U.S. Oil Sands received the Utah Water Quality Board permit despite questions raised about its potential commercial viability and an ongoing water crisis in Utah and the U.S. southwest at-large.

According to a press release on the U.S. Oil Sands website, the company managed to obtain $81 million in financing in October 2013, and says the project is “fully funded.” U.S. Oil Sands makes this claim even though a March 2013 Record of Decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management cautioned investors that “this resource is not, at present, a proven commercially viable energy source.”

Additionally, as part of its PR offensive, U.S. Oil Sands is touting that the project will create 75 to 100 high-paying, steady jobs. But given the destruction inherent in tar sands mining, not to mention the climate impacts of this dirty oil, many are likely to view this corporate pitch of several dozen jobs as offensive on its face.

Further, excessive water usage in a drought-stricken west is another concern that citizens have with the project.

A letter written by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining said, “It is expected that the mine will use 116 gallons of water per minute on a 24-hour basis, which equates to approximately 180 acre-feet per year” and that a production rate of 2,000 barrels of crude a day will consume approximately 4,000 barrels of water per day.

Opposition to US Tar Sands Building

An organized citizens alliance has sprung up to try to block the U.S. tar sands project.

Members of Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising, Utah-based activist groups, crashed an annual gathering of U.S. Oil Sands’ investors in May 2013, disrupting the meeting with protests. The activists promised stiff opposition to the project.

Additionally, Peaceful Uprising went to the PR Springs demonstration site last year to conduct a nonviolent protest to disrupt the project. They walked onto the site carrying protest signs and banners, climbed on actively working track hoes, sat and stood in front of dump trucks and mining equipment and linked arms in a human chain to block the movement of graders and scrapers.

Co-founded by “Bidder 70,” Tim DeChristopher, Peaceful Uprising is considering organizing a “spring break” grassroots protest of the Utah tar sands project this year, inviting people to join them to learn community organizing and direct action skills first-hand. They will do the trip if enough people sign up.

Before it Starts is another group concerned that the project amounts to an environmental and climate disaster slated to irreversibly impact the Tavaputs Plateau area of eastern Utah. They did a “Tar Sands Roadshow” last spring, an educational presentation in which members will travel around Utah and western Colorado explaining the impacts of the tar sands project and how it will affect the nearby lands.

While much is yet to be clarified about U.S. Oil Sands intentions in Utah, one thing is for certain: U.S. tar sands development faces stiff grassroots opposition before the prospective developers even get started.

Tar Sands Tuesday

TST

Join the Utah Tar Sands Resistance every Tuesday from 3-6PM for an open space meeting to learn about tar sands and oil shale, brainstorm ideas, get involved with the campaign, plan projects, research, make art, and generally have a good time while working to stop the first tar sands mine in the United States.

Tar Sands Tuesday are moving to the Boing! Anarchist Collective House, located at 608 South 500 East.

 

“Spaghetti, Not Tar Sands!” Fundraiser Dinner – Saturday, Feb. 1st

SpagettiNotTSmeme2

Do you like spaghetti? Do you hate tar sands?

The Utah Tar Sands Resistance is hosting a very special sit-down spaghetti dinner, to help us raise funds to continue our work to stop tar sands & oil shale mining in the Colorado Plateau.

BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE & MAKE A RESERVATION TODAY!

As US Oil Sands, Enefit & Red Leaf are preparing to break ground on their dirty & destructive extraction projects, so are we getting ready to ramp up the Resistance!–but we can’t do it alone!

Join us Saturday, Feb. 1st from 5-8:30 PM
at the Free Speech Zone (411 South 800 East, SLC, UT)

*$10 a plate in advance, and kids under 5 eat free!

*Dinner will include a green salad, bread and spaghetti with your choice of three different sauces (vegan & vegetarian)

*Gluten Free options available

*Live music by local musicians

*Purchase tickets in advance by emailing Raphael at craphaelc@gmail.com
or buy your tickets online.

Utah Tar Sands Resistance is committed to stopping the development of fossil fuels on the Colorado Plateau–with a special emphasis on stopping tar sands in Utah–by organizing communities and using direct action.

Funds be used: to support travel to rugged Eastern Utah that facilitates community building & helps develop direct action strategies; to fund events that foster a community of resistance against fossil fuels in the refinery community of the Wasatch Front; to support our efforts to build and maintain regional support around this issue.

A Letter to U.S. Oil Sands’ Strategic Partners & Investors: Don’t Invest

Risky 1

We’re asking for your your direct support and action to STOP TAR SANDS MINING in Utah by sending the letter below to potential investors.

As per U.S. Oils Sands’ press release dated September 16, 2013, there are currently 3 corporate investors who have signed a letter of intent expressing their willingness to support U.S. Oil Sands by cumulatively investing $80 MILLION in order to strip mine 32,000 acres of public land in the PR Springs area of eastern Utah.

Without funding, USOS cannot move forward with its plan of extreme extraction in Utah.  If we (all of us) let the prospective investors know of the risky investment they would be making, and inform them that as this project moves forward, U.S. Oil Sands will likely encounter continued resistance, they may take a second, closer look at the fossil foolishness in which they would be investing.

Will you join Utah’s dedicated activists in sending a letter to the noted investors?

We believe that letters sent throughout the month of October could have a significant impact, and encourage you to add personal thoughts.

You can either send an online version of the letter, or download a copy to mail or fax.

Thank you,
Utah Tar Sands Resistance & allies

(Send the letter online, or download a copy to mail or fax).
Continue reading

Frank Giustra, President Bill Clinton’s Close Colleague, Joins US Oil Sands Board

UPDATE 10/18/2013: “Due to other commitments, Frank Giustra will not be appointed to the Board.” (Perhaps due the risky nature of tar sands investing).

by Steve Horn (reposted from DesmogBlog)

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 1.11.43 PMFrank Giustra – key power broker and close colleague of former President Bill Clinton – has taken a seat on the Board of Directors of U.S. Oil Sands, an Alberta-based company aiming to develop tar sands deposits in Utah’s Uintah Basin. **UPDATE: Although he was named a prospective appointee to the Board, Mr. Giustra ultimately declined the position, citing “other commitments.”**

U.S. Oil Sands – in naming several new members to its Board – also announced it has received $80 million in “strategic financing” from Blue Pacific Investments Group Ltd., Anchorage Capital Group, L.L.C. and Spitfire Ventures, LLC.

The funding will help get the ball rolling on “tar sands south,” a miniature but increasingly controversial version of its big brother to the north, the Alberta tar sands. Giustra will likely help in opening the right doors for tar sands industry interests in the United States.

Giusta is best known for his work in the worlds of uranium mining and minerals mining, though he has dabbled in the Alberta tar sands finance world once before, lending upwards of $20 million in capital to Excelsior Energy. He serves as CEO and President of Fiore Financial Corporation.

Founder and Director of the Radcliffe Foundation and Co-Director of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (formerly known as the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative), Frank Giustra has maintained close ties with Bill Clinton since 2005.

The Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative is an arm of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation (the Clinton Foundation). Giustra sits on the Clinton Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Clinton_familyGiustra also sits on the Board of Directors of Petromanas Energy Inc., an oil and gas company with assets including 1.1 million acres in Albania, 170,000 acres in France and 1.6 million acres in Australia.

Clinton and Giustra have been instrumental in forging a major oil deal in Colombia and a major nuclear uranium mining deal in Kazakhstan, among other things.

Opening Doors in Colombia

In a February 2008 article, ”Clinton Used Giustra’s Plane, Opened Doors for Deals,” Bloomberg mapped out the close relationship between Clinton and Giustra that began in 2005. 

“Clinton was borrowing [Giustra’s private jet] to begin a four-day speaking tour of Latin America that would pay him $800,000,” Bloomberg detailed. “Frank Giustra…was forming a friendship that would make him part of the former president’s inner circle and gain him introductions to presidents of Kazakhstan and Colombia.”

Clinton’s effort to connect Giustra to former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was related to oil developments.

Álvaro_Uribe_Vélez“Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp., spent more than $250 million to purchase control of a company that operated Colombian oil fields in conjunction with Ecopetrol S.A., the national oil company,” explained The Wall Street Journal. “Pacific Rubiales has also signed a pipeline deal with Ecopetrol and been invited by the Colombian national petroleum agency to do further oil-development work in the country.”

Giustra’s Endeavor Financial Corporation provided the money for the Pacific Rubiales buyout, where he served as Chairman from 2001-2007. Giustra’s Fiore Financial Corporation maintains an “exclusive strategic alliance” with Endeavor Financial, which “provide[s] Endeavour with unique deal making and investment capabilities.”

Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership lists Pacific Rubiales, the Colombian government and Endeavor Mining (the mining wing of Endeavor Financial Corporation) among its current PartnersThe Wall Street Journal explained that Pacific Rubiales gave over $3 million to the Partnership, and Giustra put over $100 million of his own cash into the pot.

From Kazakhstani Uranium Shell Company to Clinton Foundation Trustee

Giustra’s self-serving philantrophy also took him and Clinton to Kazakhstan in September 2007, as documented in a January 2008 New York Times investigation.

Paralleling their Colombia activities, Clinton played the role of “doorman,” opening doors for Giustra to meet key leaders in the giant Central Asian state.

Kazakhstan-CIA_WFB_Map“Within two days [of the beginning of the trip], corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company [UrAsia Energy Ltd.] signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom,” wrote The Times.

“The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra.”

Like in Colombia, the deal was a win-win for Clinton and Giustra.

“Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra,” The Times further explained.

“The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle…Giustra [also] co-produced a gala 60th birthday for Mr. Clinton that featured stars like Jon Bon Jovi and raised about $21 million for the Clinton Foundation.”

Bon_Jovi_O2_Arena_Circle_TourWithin a year and a half, Giustra sold off his stake in the Kazatomprom joint venture for $3.1 billion, which he had originally purchased for $450 million.

Giustra, Clinton Opening Doors for US Tar Sands Development?

With their history of partnering up on business deals worldwide, front-line Utah environmental activists fear the Uintah Basin could be next on the list for Frank Giustra and Bill Clinton.

“There have been efforts to squeeze oil from the tar sands and oil shale along the Colorado Plateau for decades, and ultimately these projects fail due to their experimental, energy intensive, and risky nature,” Jessica Lee, an activist with Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance said in an interview with DeSmogBlog.

Giustra’s presence on the Board, Lee believes, may give U.S. tar sands the credibility they currently lack in the eyes of capital investors.

“The real risk here is that investors will view Giustra and the other board members involvement as attractive, and will throw their own money away into a speculative investment,” she said. “Frank Giustra will not stay behind to clean up the mess U.S. Oil Sands leaves, pocketing whatever money he can and leaving Utah with a wasteland.”