Mar 162013
 

Today, activists from Grand County, Utah dropped a banner from a large boulder along the route of a popular annual half-marathon that read:  ”TAR SANDS ARE COMING / UNLESS WE STOP IT / BEFORE IT STARTS.ORG”

This direct action is in concert with a” week of action against tar sands profiteers”, called for by Tar Sands Blockade.

Detail of banner dropped off a huge rock along the route of  an annual half-marathon

Detail of banner dropped off a huge rock along the route of an annual half-marathon

 

Over 5000 runners will have seen the banner by the time of this posting. The road will open for public traffic by Saturday afternoon. The banner remains in place for now.

The drop was conceived of and carried out by activists from Canyon Country Rising Tide, Before it Starts, and individuals who came together during a series of events in Moab, Utah–including a conversation with Canadian Indigenous Elder Francois Paulette and a teach-in / strategy discussion–which had been planned and hosted by Before It Starts.

Tar sands mining in Canada is the largest and most destructive industrial project in the history of our planet.  The U.S.A. could soon become another home for this kind of mining. The most immediate threat comes from U.S. Oil Sands, Inc, which plans to begin operations this year in an area just 60 miles from where the banner drop (pictured below) took place.  [Read the details about US Oil Sands' operation]

Hundreds of marathon-goers pass a banner alerting them to the threat of tar sands mining in the area they enjoy.

Hundreds of marathon-goers pass a banner alerting them to the threat of tar sands mining in the area they enjoy.

“The proposed strip mining, processing, shipping, and refining of tar sands in Utah threatens the wild character of this landscape that we love. It would pollute our air, water, and further contribute to catastrophic climate change. I for one am not about to let one of the most destructive industrial processes on earth come to Grand County without a fight,” said one activist.

Come to a meeting, spread the word, hang a banner, plan a direct action.
Check out www.beforeitstarts.org to get involved. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well.

Using Tarsands produces 2-4 more times carbon dioxide than conventional oil.

The mining and processing of Tarsands requires as much or more energy as it produces in the end. This extra energy input comes from either fracked natural gas or nuclear power- both of which we also oppose.

 March 16, 2013  Posted by at 1:47 pm Actions, Impending US Tar Sands operations Tagged with: , ,
Jan 142013
 

[UPDATE March 31 2013: Water bottle label now available in high resolution to improve readability. Click to view]  

The prospect of tar sands and oil shale mining (i.e. “unconventional fuels”) made this year’s Governor’s Energy Development Summit in Utah anything but conventional.

Media coverage of the conference was dominated by multiple protests going on both inside and outside the convention center, much to the dismay of the companies that are seeking investors for their upstart tar sands and oil shale projects.

Utahns protest outside the Annual Governors Energy Development Summit.

Utahns protest outside the Annual Governors Energy Development Summit.

One company in particular, U.S. Oil Sands, Inc., bore the brunt of the protesters concerns–and direct actions.

Close-up of the label on dozens of water bottles passed out during the 2012 Governor's Energy Development  Summit

Close-up of the label on dozens of water bottles passed out during the 2012 Governor’s Energy Development Summit (click for an even closer look)

Anderson proudly distributing "biodegradable carcinogens"

Anderson proudly distributing “biodegradable carcinogens”

Before it Starts co-founders Ashley Anderson and Kate Finneran took part by smuggling in unsanctioned water bottles and table cards and distributing them widely. The water bottles were adorned with custom labels listing the ingredients in U.S. Oil Sands’ processing solvent. The table cards let the industry folks who were eating lunch with the Governor and Utah’s Congressional delegation know that the water they were drinking had been treated with some of the “safe” solvent. The idea was to let people know exactly what U.S. Oil Sands was referring to as they championed their “environmentally friendly” extraction process, and to bring attention to their first national action, which calls for people around the country to email U.S. Oil Sands CEO Cameron Todd demanding a do-over on disputed testing of their mining permits.

standing card placed on tables for the Governors luncheon

standing card placed on tables for the Governors luncheon

For one reason or another, no one in charge of the conference seemed to care that someone was distributing water which claimed to contain extremely poisonous chemicals.  ”I thought we’d get arrested, or at least thrown out. I even gave one to someone from the Governors office. I guess we’ll need to be less subtle next time.” said Finneran. Table Cards

 

Anderson and Finneran also had the opportunity to chat at length with U.S. Oil Sands’ CEO Cameron Todd following his presentation at the first Unconventional Fuels breakout session. Todd had just stated to the audience that his company was publicly owned, therefore accountable to it’s shareholders for everything it claims in public, unlike the “detractors” who were opposed to his company’s plans. Anderson reminded Todd that as a Utah resident expecting his first child, he was rightfully concerned, and didn’t appreciate being referred to as a detractor.  Todd also answered some straightforward questions about these concerns, which Before it Starts is in the process of validating now.  A full video and transcript of this conversation coming soon.

While this was going on, two protesters from Utah Tar Sands Resistance seized the mic in the main staging area and gave the Governeor a special award, before being forcefully thrown out by security.  From then on, the Unconventional Fuels breakouts were heavily guarded by police–unlike the other three sessions that were in the same hall.

Later that day, Utah’s Congressional delegation discussed ways to stop environmental organizations from getting in the way of unconventional fuels development. They were clearly referring to Living Rivers, which is the plaintiff in the legal challenges that have held oil shale and tar sands projects at bay for years. (Living Rivers is also the parent organization of Before it Starts.)

On day two,  BIS’ Anderson was given the mic at the end of the final Unconventional Fuels breakout session, and took the opportunity to remind the participants that their perceptions of the protesters were inaccurate. You can read his post about what he said and why here.

Outside, a large rally pulled together by members of HEAL Utah, the Sierra Club, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Utah Tar Sands Resistance, Before it Starts, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and others took off around 12:30. After some speeches, they started singing “This Land is Your Land” and stormed the Salt Palace Convention Center, until they were turned around by security. (This was in the tradition of a 2010  rally outside the Utah Capitol surrounding HB477 , during which over 100 protesters flooded into the capitol rotunda and up to the legislative chambers, scaring lawmakers enough that they quickly overturned the controversial law.)

“I am proud of what we are doing here in Utah, as concerned citizens from a wide range of backgrounds, to confront this kind of energy development. This Summit proves we are good at working together. But the first tar sands and oil shale mines in the United States are a national issue. Our work at Before it Starts is to serve fill the role of on-the-ground liaison to organizations and individuals from all over the country that are already working on the issue or want to become involved,” Anderson said.

 

Sep 072012
 
Written by Ben Jervey.
An excellent starting point for getting the basics on the PR Springs mine.

First U.S. Tar Sands Mine: Six Years Digging Up Sixty-Two Acres…For Just 6 Hours Worth of Oil (via Desmogblog)

How much oil can we expect to get out of the very first tar sands mine on American soil? About six hours worth. That’s how long the 4.7 million barrels of bitumen that U.S. Oil Sands Inc plans to extract from a 62-acre mine in eastern Utah would sate our American oil demands.   Back in April, I…

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 September 7, 2012  Posted by at 7:07 am Impending US Tar Sands operations Tagged with: , , ,
Jul 092012
 

On May 20, 2009 the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (UDOGM) approved a plan of operations by an Alberta, Canada mining company called Earth Energy Resources (EER) to commence the strip mining of tar sands (bitumen) in the Uinta Basin of the Colorado Plateau.

STATUS: The application to begin mining operations has been challenged by Living Rivers and their attorneysWestern Resource Advocates. The application for a Conditional Use Permit from Grand County has yet to be submitted by EER.

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