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Protect OUR Wildlands and Watersheds: Stop Tar Sands Strip Mining in Utah

This petition had 94 supporters

If approved, the proposed PR Springs Tar Sands Strip Mining project will become the first large-scale mining project for the processing of tar sands in the USA. In Utah, 570,000 acres have been identified for potential exploitation of this dirty fuel.

The company proposing this project, U.S. Oil Sands, Inc., is the same entity associated with destructive strip mining in Alberta, Canada, and now they are looking to the U.S. to exploit our resources and destroy our wildlands in major watersheds that feed the Colorado River.

PR Springs is located on the East Tavaputs Plateau in east-central Utah. The elevation is about 8,100 feet. The higher elevations of the Tavaputs remain roadless and meet the criteria of the Wilderness Act.

PR Springs is a watershed divide for three rivers: White, Green and Colorado. The landscape is a mixed forest of fir, pine, juniper and oak, and is essentially old growth. The animal life is abundant and includes: deer, elk, bear, bison, turkey, grouse, owls, hawks and eagles.

The proposed operation will deforest the Tava- puts, obliterate the near surface aquifers, and completely consume the ground-water at depth.

The corporation is required to salvage the top soil and revegetate the abandoned waste pits, but the disturbance will be too massive and the soil cover too thin to generate a robust recovery. Wind and intense thunderstorms will remove the topsoil and the area is destined to become a wasteland of rubble.

U.S. Oil Sands will use a chemical solvent and hot water to liberate the bitumen from sand and clay. The solvent is rendered from citrus rinds.

The solvent is a terpene and similar to turpen- tine, which is distilled from pine needles. The moist waste sand and clay will be dumped into unlined pits, and the solvent and hydrocarbon residues will leach into the watershed.

Most of the air pollution will come from diesel-powered equipment moving rock back- and-forth at the mining site, hauling water to the processing site, and transporting hot bitumen to distant refineries.


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