Resisters and High School students attend SITLA board meeting

A group of concerned persons attended the monthly SITLA board meeting to speak during the public comment period. Here are some videos of folks speaking at the  meeting in November.


Four high school students came to speak and ask questions of the Board of Trustees at the monthly meeting of the Schools and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) in Salt Lake City.

Students address SITLA board of trustees

Here is a clip of some High School students in Salt Lake city who took the time to attend this public meeting and ask some questions of the SITLA board of trustees. These students are beneficiaries of the trust. Listen to the board responses.

Posted by Utah Tar Sands Resistance on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The students asked the board about climate change and the effects for future generations.

Another student asked about SITLA”s role in causing air pollution.

The board was aloof and somewhat condescending to the well informed students who are the beneficiaries of the school lands trust.

The students were from West High School, Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts, Highland High School and The Academy for Math Engineering and Science.

Utah Tar Sands Resistance had 2 speakers and other people of all ages spoke.

SITLA is entrusted with leasing and developing state trust lands for the benefit of primarily the K-12 public education system in Utah. SITLA is constitutionally mandated to generate revenue from trust lands to build and grow permanent endowments for the beneficiaries.

The seven member un-elected board with no direct public accountability and ties to either fossil fuel interests or real estate development are responsible for the management of leases to these trust lands.

The public has many concerns about SITLA. These include individual trustees conflict of interest which can (or has) led to decisions which may benefit board members or their colleagues. Secondly, SITLA’s policy promoting oil shale and tar sand strip-mining has failed. While millions of dollars have been spent, not one barrel of oil has been realized and pristine lands, most of which are within the Uncompahgre reservation boundaries, have been devastated.  Recent failed or failing projects include: US Oil Sands, Red Leaf Resources , Enefit Energy, and MCW Energy (now called Petroteq). Everyone of these projects is unprofitable, un-reclaimed, harmed land, bankruptcies, busted communities have been the legacy so far.

Lonnie Bullard insults his critics and the beneficiaries. Gee …

Later in the meeting after the public comment period ends and the students leave, to return to class I presume, Board member Lonnie Bullard the SITLA board vice chair takes the floor to insult the students and the rest of us who remained.

Posted by Utah Tar Sands Resistance on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mr. Lonnie Bullard a member of the SITLA board of trustees takes time during the monthly meeting to insult the students, who are the beneficiaries of the trust, and the other folks who spoke.  Some of the students who spoke were not even offered chairs in the mostly full room. They were attending the meeting at 9 am likely missing some school classes, to speak during the 10 min public comment period which occurs at the beginning of the 2-3 hour meeting. Mr Bullard insulted the students for leaving before the meeting ended. I pointed out that the students likely had to return to high school. He also criticizes “people who choose to spend the time in tents and on lines” for wanting a magic wand. UTSR did in fact participate in the governors clean energy alliance by suggesting that Utah take tar sands and oil shale development OFF the governors energy plan. Needless to say this proposal was not accepted.

Shutting down the Uintah Basin Energy Summit: “A message to all of you short-sighted killers”

“Disorderly Conduct” by Sidhe, a message to US Oil Sands and other killers



On Sept. 4th, Utah Tar Sands Resistance interrupted the 2014 Uintah Basin Energy Summit, a yearly conference where tar sands and oil shale speculators are exalted and anyone “not excited” about the destruction of the Book Cliffs is shut out and silenced.

Land defender Sidhe had planned to share her entire poem with the 700 conference goers, but police–already aware of the conference organizers’ insecurities and impatience–would not cede a moment to their dissenters. Sidhe was booked into the Uintah County Jail on suspicion of “disorderly conduct,” an exceedingly fitting charge police could level against the tar sands speculators destroying the planet who were in the room, but alas, the police work for the capitalists, not the people.

“Disorderly Conduct” by Sidhe

A message to all of you short-sighted killers
What kind of world will you leave behind for your children
When you’ve squeezed every last drop of life from the land
With your greed and your murder you’ve wrought with your plans

I’d like to remind you your money means nothing
When the water’s been blackened and the creatures are starving
You toy with a force you do not understand
Your chemicals won’t wash all that blood off your hands

First Nations fight cancer up in Athabasca
Your oil trains are time bombs impending disaster
Your pipelines will leak and your cesspools will sprawl
And your babies are left with the brunt of it all

What of the animals caught in the tar?
What of the forests left clear cut and scarred?
What of those atrocities I didn’t witness?
Like Serafino in Columbia sending assassins
To murder union organizers who stood up and spoke out
In the back of my mind I can still hear them shout
I am made of this land you are made of the same
The planet is dying and you are to blame

Are you proud of yourselves? Look at what you’ve become
Heartless machines, so frigid and numb
So reluctant to think that you may just be wrong
That you hear the dissent and you send in the guns.

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.

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.

Spend Memorial Day Weekend with the Resistance!


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


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).

Tell the BLM “STOP Ambre Energy!” #NoOilShale in the Book Cliffs

Attention Resisters! There’s a new oil shale company with their dirty extraction loving eyes on the Book Cliffs of Utah. Ambre Energy wants to start exploratory mining about 50 miles south of Vernal, along Seep Ridge.

Oh hey, do you remember when the BLM was drafting their Environmental Impact Statement on tar sands and oil shale in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, and we delivered the People’s Environmental Impact Statement telling them why tar sands & oil shale development are a bad idea? And the lawsuit that challenged the 800,000-acres being proposed? The BLM paid some lip-service to the fact that they were going to make tar sands and oil shale speculators PROVE that their projects were economically viable AND would have minimal impact on the environment. That they’d allow this “exploratory mining” seems pretty shady.


Estonian journalist speaks at Enefit / Eesti Energia oil shale test mine in Utah

In January 2014, Estonian journalist Andres Raid of Talinna TV travelled to Utah to investigate his nation’s energy company’s Utah project. What he found was barely a sham test pit and nothing more going on, a scandal of great proportions for his Estonian people.

Estonian’s utility prices have soared under Eesti Energia’s current leadership, debt has gone from €300m in 2011 to €600m today, a balance that credit agencies have noticed. Criticizing Enefit/Eesti Energia’s foolish investments overseas and the expansive debt growth, credit agencies have lower Enefit’s credit rating.

Moreever, Enefit’s test plant in Estonia of turning oil shale into liquid fuel has been a complete waste of time effort and money. So-called Enefit 280–the technology the company claims it will use in Utah, Jordan and elsewhere–isn’t working. A huge plant in Estonia is built but not operational.

Since Raid’s reporting these last two months, sources inside Enefit have told journalists that the Utah oil shale project is on hold indefinitely. But then a Utahn employed by Enefit as a PR flack says that is untrue.

So what is the truth, Enefit? Why don’t you start giving people some answers about Enefit 280, about your soaring debt, about your complete lack of experience turning oil shale into liquid fuel, about the completely disappointing German test results regarding Utah oil shale. Tell us the truth, Enefit–Utahns and Estonians both deserve to hear it.

(You can watch Andres Raid’s story about Enefit’s Utah oil shale project here).

Wasatch Winter: A Month of Action for Clean Air!

If you find yourself traveling through a low-hanging cloud of smog, with five big refineries, a medical waste incinerator, and the outlines of the world’s largest copper mine barely discernible through the pollution, you are not in fact in a post-apocalyptic landscape, but simply experiencing a regular inversion day in the Valley. Welcome to Salt Lake City — where the legislature seems to be remarkably good at catering to the non-breathing, lung-less part of the population, while ignoring the rest. That’s why we’re calling for a month of action for clean air throughout February.



Salt Lake City often has the worst air quality in the nation, especially during the winter inversion.

We invite all air breathers, organizations, and community groups to organize events, actions, and activities that spotlight air quality issues. Join the Wasatch Winter—a month of action for clean air—and make yourself heard!

Continue reading

Enefit’s Investment Rating Downgraded “due to challenges associated with development of oil shale activities”


Utah’s hopeful oil shale miner, Enefit, (aka Estonian Energy) suffers a painful credit rating decrease.

“Moody’s said that the rating action reflects the development of Eesti Energia’s business risk profile in light of the increasing integration of the Baltic and Nordic power markets, coupled with generally weak levels of wholesale power prices and CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF OIL SHALE ACTIVITIES.”

It looks increasingly unlikely that Enefit is able of borrowing what it would need to start oil shale production in the US. Utahns should take note that Rikki Hrencko and the Enefit crew are taking us for a ride–a very costly ride.

We’d like to think Moody’s knew UTSR was in Uintah Basin this week causing trouble and knew we’d leave Enefit in money shambles. Grassroots resistance is one of Enefit’s “challenges associated with the development of oil shale activities.”

Read the full article in The Baltic Course.

Join us this Saturday, January 25th, at 6PM for a discussion on Enefit.
Enefit: Estonian Oil Shale in Eastern Utah?
at the Mexican Federation of Clubs (344 South Goshen Street (1040 West), SLC, UT)

Photo tour: Join us to visit what Enefit oil shale mining would destroy first


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

Oct. 25-27: Stop Enefit! No Oil Shale Campout

Stop Enefit

We with the Utah Tar Sands Resistance aren’t all about tar sands, you know. Eastern Utah has become a sacrifice zone for the Western United States in terms of destructive, toxic fuel extraction, and we’re standing up to say “No!” to extreme energies in the Uintah Basin–and that includes oil shale.

Enefit, an Estonian government-owned company with some half-baked ideas about mining for oil shale in Eastern Utah (in order to produce Kerogen), is bringing the usual lines about ” minimizing land disturbance,” ” reclamation” of the land,  and their “commitment to environmental stewardship.”


By their very nature, extractive processes such as Enefit’s are highly destructive, leaving behind a wasteland, and polluting the water and air. Even if we believed Enefit’s lies, the state of Utah requires little to no oversight of oil & gas projects, and has recently allowed US Oil Sands to start tar sands mining without requiring a pollution permit or water monitoring. Why should the Enefit project be any different in a state with a “Mine, Baby, Mine!” mentality?

Oil shale mining in Estonia has left the Baltic country with a population high in respiratory disease, and according to a recent report from KSL News, “There are still vast piles of waste in Estonia, and dozens of square miles remain torn up by strip-mining. There used to be severe air pollution and water quality problems.”

Recently, Shell announced that they were abandoning their own oil shale project in the Western Slopes of Colorado, after wasting over $30 million of dollars in “exploration.” They following Chevron in fleeing the Colorado Plateau because oil shale development is EXPENSIVE, RISKY and UNRELIABLE.

Based on early tests, folks in Estonia are even say that Enefit’s Utah project is “not promising” and are worried that it could cost them $100 million.

We don’t want Utah to become a wasteland. Our air, water, and land are too precious to squander on speculative and experimental mining practices.

Join us as we say “NO!” to oil shale, and get ready to STOP ENEFIT!

(Please email us at for directions, and join the Facebook event for updates)