For Immediate Release: May 14, 2013
Contact: Kate Finneran, Before It Starts, 435-260-0662 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Opposition Against Tar Sands Grows in Utah as US Oil Sands, Inc meets for Annual Shareholder Meeting in Calgary
Front Line and Downstream Communities Call for Protection of Colorado River, Vow to Stop Canadian Company’s Bid For Tar Sands Extraction
Calgary, Alberta~ An unprecedented coalition of Utahns delivered a powerful message to US Oil Sands, Inc. today as investors gathered for an annual and special meeting of shareholders at the Calgary Petroleum Club: “US Oil Sands: We Will Stop You…Before it Starts.” Investors received a group photo from the alliance, with the picturesque backdrop of Arches National Park and the Tavaputs Plateau, and a promise protect their community.
US Oil Sands (which changed its name last year from Earth Energy Resources) hopes to begin construction in 2013 on what would be the first tar sands mine in the United States, located in the Tavaputs Plateau region of Southeastern Utah. But a growing alliance of Utahns has pledged to stop the project before it starts. The company has galvanized Utah locals and downstream communities committed to the protection of Colorado and Green River waterways.
“We want current and potential investors of US Oil Sands to know they will meet resistance on the ground,” said Kate Finneran, local Moab mom and organizer with Before it Starts.org, an organization committed to keeping Utah tar sands and oil shale free. “We will use every avenue available to us; legal, legislative, policy, organizing and even direct action to protect our communities and our future.”
As the Arid West braces for another dry, hot summer, growing concerns about water use and pollution from the project have also moved farmers, ranchers, hunters, anglers and others to join in saying ‘No thank you’ to the Canadian company and its tar sands mining plans.
“Tar Sands projects are simply short sighted gains at the expense of long-term habitat conservation. Some type of fossil fuel extraction can be done with minimal environmental impact but tar sands are not in that category. They destroy habitat that can never be restored to anything that resembles what was lost. It is a losing proposition,” said Jay Banta of Back Country Hunters & Anglers.
The company has also drawn fire from small business owners over impacts on air quality and ‘viewscapes’ in the nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, which attract over one million visitors a year to Moab and surrounding areas, fueling a thriving tourism economy. Ty Markham runs a small hospitality business near Capitol Reef, one of Utah’s spectacular red rock national parks.
“I know how the polluting process of extracting tar sands near ANY of our national parks will impact my business, along with all the other businesses here that exist due to the strong tourism and recreation we have in our part of the state,” Markham said. “When those blue skies, broad vistas and clear rivers and streams are no longer pristine, visitors to our area will decrease and our businesses will struggle. Then it won’t be long before we’re laying off employees and our local economies die. We’re not going to be fooled by the empty promises of boom-bust industries.”
The proposed tar sands operation has faced legal challenges by Living Rivers and Western Resource Advocates, and although the company was recently given the green light by the state of Utah, US Oil Sands may find it more difficult than expected to operate in the region, due to growing objections by locals. Some groups are organizing a camp in July to train local residents in civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action in anticipation of a summer of peaceful protests against US Oil Sands’ plans.
For the photo card sent from Utahns to US Oil Sands investors visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beforeitstarts/8741634386/in/photostream/
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