Jun 252013

“Invest in our dirty fuels!” – U.S. Oil Sands, Inc.

“Divest in dirty fuels!” – President Barack Obama

“D’oh.” – U.S. Oil Sands, Inc.

obama speeching

President Barack Obama gave an historic speech on climate today, and at one point encouraged people all over the world to invest in clean, renewable technologies–and to divest in dirty energy projects.

This must have come as a devastating setback for executives at U.S. Oil Sands, Inc, a Canadian firm trying desperately to lure enough private investment to begin mining tar sands in Utah. It would be the first such mine in the United States. The company has already pushed its start date for production back several times.

If tar sands and oil shale mining in the USA takes off, it would become the largest source of atmospheric carbon on the continent. That’s right: they’re bigger than the Canadian tar sands reserves.

POTUS made no mention whatsoever of unconventional fuels like oil shale and tar sands. He certainly could have, given the “all-of-the-above” jargon that he’s been sticking with for years. He could easily have said, “Here’s what we do: we develop our current energy sources, even unconventional ones like the tar sands and the oil shale. We ramp up fracking and natural gas development, and we use that energy to transition to a cleaner economy.” Somewhere along the way, that first part got chopped off, no doubt to the chagrin of tar sands and oil shale lobbyists. And while this tragically leaves fracking at the center of his approach, the absence of support for unconventional fuels development may finally “put to rest” any lingering hope U.S. Oil Sands, Inc. and fellow oil shale start-ups may have for ever turning a profit.



 June 25, 2013  Posted by at 1:45 pm Impending US Tar Sands operations, Inspirational Tagged with: , ,
Mar 292013

Its mountainous skyline graces a zillion breathtaking photos. Its jagged blue-green pine-covered peaks rise out of sandy-colored cliffs to complete the rainbow of color that the canyon country is so famous for,  but it never gets the credit. Now, there are plans to strip-mine it for tar sands and oil shale.

The Tavaputs Plateau as sen from the windows section of Arches National Park. The smooth sandstone of the Delicate Arch area can be seen.

The Tavaputs Plateau as seen from the windows section of Arches National Park. The smooth sandstone of the Delicate Arch area is near the bottom.

So let’s make it right. Let’s celebrate the Tavaputs Plateau. Let’s point it out!


~ A public collaboration ~

It’s simple: get your photos to us and we’ll aggregate them into a Flickr Set and Facebook album, so anyone can appreciate them.

If you’ve ever taken photos in the red rock country of Southeastern Utah or the western slope of Colorado, you probably already have some gems! Plus, it’s kind of a fun game of hide-and-seek to search your image files…


Make sure that the Tavaputs Plateau is in the picture. (Examples.) It can comprise all or part of the skyline. The photo should (but doesn’t necessarily need to) convey that it was taken somewhere in red rock canyon country. For an especially poignant image, try to include a famous or recognizable landmark (like Balanced Rock in Arches National Park or Dead Horse Point in Canyonlands National Park, or even a road sign everyone knows, for example.)

To add (submit) your photos, either

Upload them to Flickr with the tag #TavaputsCountry and we’ll find them and add them to the set and Facebook. Make sure you create a caption. Here’s our Flickr set so far


Email the photo as an attachment to admin@beforeitstarts.org. The caption will be whatever you put in the subject line.


Post them to our Facebook Wall. If they meet the criteria, we’ll add them to the album. Here we are on Facebook. 


Upload them to Instagram and tag them #TavaputsCountry. We’ll find them. And add them to the slideshow below.


Tweet them with the #TavaputsCountry hashtag. We’d love it if you included a  link to the slideshow or this page.

Your photos remain your property and you retain the rights. We won’t sell them. Don’t even know how.  We won’t let anyone alse sell them either. But by submitting, you are allowing us to add them to the set and to post to Facebook and Twitter.


Questions? email admin@beforeitstarts.


~Ashley A from the BiS team in Moab. PS: I took the first coulpe to get us started.



 March 29, 2013  Posted by at 2:23 pm Art projects, Inspirational Tagged with: , , , ,