DOGM (Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining) ruled last week that US Oil Sands could expand its work zone into what we have come to call “Children’s Legacy Camp,” the beloved site where we’ve held our Intergenerational Campout for the past two years. Days before that decision was made, however, USOS (or state officials working at their behest?) had already posted “No Trespassing” signs along the boundary of the area, despite the fact that the public was fully permitted to hike, camp, or otherwise enjoy that area of land.
What’s more, the signs are labeled “Uintah County” although the area is actually within Grand County. In their hurry to lay claim to the site, it seems USOS couldn’t even get the basic details right—or perhaps they made that mistake intentionally. It seems obvious to us why they would want the police force of a more industry-friendly county to deal with any potential trespassers even when it’s the legal jurisdiction of a more tourism-friendly county.
What’s most troubling to us is that state officials have either overtly or tacitly sanctioned this premature claim of public lands. A cop working for the Attorney General’s office was posted at the site for the duration of Peaceful Uprising’s Colorado Plateau Defense Camp last week, and the signs were posted during that time. It’s hard for us to imagine that he didn’t witness or at some point notice the posting of the signs, which stand in an area between the Colorado Plateau Defense Camp location and the mine site, even if he wasn’t personally responsible for posting them. Either possibility is an obvious case of corporate-state collusion.
And if it were USOS that posted the signs or requested them, we believe their poor attention to detail should be just another deterrent to any potential investors who are contemplating putting their money into the project. The company’s propensity for making brash and foolhardy decisions doesn’t bode well for its potential to manage a project bearing the level of risk that theirs does.