The event was staged near Moab, in part, because the area may become home to the first tar sands mine in the country. The project would be located northeast of Moab in the Book Cliffs area of Grand and Uintah counties. Canadian-based Earth Energy Resources plans to extract up to 2,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil from their PR Springs Mine. Earth Energy Resources has received all of the required permits to begin operation except for the conditional use permit from Grand County.
“Grand County Council has the power to choose between investment in a dirty fuel that destroys our land, water and wildlife, or development of clean energy sources that enhances our beautiful and vibrant way of life,” said Moab local Ashley Anderson.
The proposal has sparked controversy and protests from those opposed to tar sands development. Opponents describe tar sands as “one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet,” and say tar sands oil is more dangerous than conventional fuel and poses serious contamination hazards to ground water.
“This area should be known for the iconic beauty that draws travelers from around the world, not for introducing one of the worst forms of energy to the United States,” said Juliana Williams, one of the organizers for the event. “We refuse to sit idly by as the State of Utah and Earth Energy Resources trade away our future.”