Lisha Cordova, Division of Oil, Gas and Mining,
A recent plan put forth by the Department of the Interior discussed potential leases for oil shale and tar sands development on Bureau of Land Management lands.
Comparing the Tar Sands Triangle deposits to Canadian operations, the Utah Geological Survey, conducted in 2007 and updated in 2009, reveals: "The Utah and Canadian tar sands differ significantly in the size of the resource and in character. The Canadian resource is approximately 30 to 40 times larger than that in Utah, and individual Canadian deposits are generally much larger. Furthermore, the oil saturations of the Canadian deposits are frequently twice those of the Utah deposits. Therefore, significantly less ore must be processed in Canada than in Utah to produce a barrel of tar."
Driving the road east of the Dirty Devil River in the Tar Sands Triangle you are approximately equal distant — or about five miles — between the Robbers Roost Wilderness Study Area and the Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon (Canyonlands National Park) in the north, and about the same distance from a French Spring-Happy Canyon WSA and the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.
I won't speculate on the wilderness quality of the Canadian land, but in Utah this intangible value is both priceless and our ethical responsibility to preserve. This is a land of rock and solitude: fierce, nurturing, resilient and fragile all at once.