Geoff Liesik, Deseret News
Activists from a number of environmental and social justice groups shut down construction Monday, July 29, 2013, of the Seep Ridge Road in southern Uintah County to protest plans by U.S. Oil Sands to develop the nation's first commericial tar sands mine near PR Springs. The mine proposal has full state approval, but is being challenged in court.
I am one environmentalist who begs to differ with the activists protesting the strip-mining of tar sands at PR Springs in the Book Cliffs ("Activists protest proposed Utah tar sands mine," July 30).
Evidently, these activists prefer we keep importing our oil. Thus we pay billions to Middle Eastern folks who don't like us much. Then we ship the oil across the ocean where storms threaten the ships — does "Exxon Valdez" ring a bell? The oil is refined at a gulf location, then moved to Utah in tanker trucks that pollute the air or in long pipelines where leaks occur. And we pay more for this process than for locally-produced crude, and the environmental exposure is greater.
Option two means good-paying jobs in Carbon County, which have been hard hit by efforts to shut down the coal industry. The claim that the process would pollute the Book Cliffs land and Colorado River system is untrue. The land would actually benefit since the company would restore it to a much better state than the current juniper/sagebrush wasteland. Where rattlesnakes and lizards now barely exist, deer and elk would flourish. The oil would travel far less than the long trip from the Middle East, and we could keep our jobs and dollars here in Utah, and be energy self-reliant.
To me, the second option is a big win for all, including our activists.