Recently, Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality approved permits for a Canadian tar sands mining company aiming to start the first commercial operation in the U.S. The company has leased 32,000 acres of state public lands in eastern Utah at an area called PR Springs. The mining of this land, and any future tar sands or oil shale mining attempts that follow, would put human health and the ecosystems we rely on in grave danger, threatening the water supply, farmland, and air we all rely on.
Tar sands and oil shale mining would decimate our land, water, air, and health while harming local economies, which in Utah rely largely on tourism. Companies have repeatedly tried and failed to extract low-grade fuel from these types of rock with no success, and at great expense to taxpayers. As the Bureau of Land Management states, tar sands and oil shale mining have never been demonstrated commercially feasible in the U.S., and no evidence suggests they will prove feasible now. In the process of attempting to attract more investment and prove them feasible, however, would-be profiteers could decimate our land and water.
We therefore pledge to resist this and any future tar sands and oil development for the sake of all those who would be put at risk by these dangerous projects.
Tar sands and oil shale mining and refining, if allowed to begin in the U.S., would rob us of our water rights. The Colorado’s flow is diminishing, not increasing, and these mining and refining processes require massive amounts of water. This inescapable reality would cause widespread conflicts over water, as water rights were seized from farmers and communities. We will not allow tar sands and oil shale profiteers to seize the water that rightfully belongs to everyone.
Tar sands and oil shale mining would also contaminate our water supply with dangerous substances that cause cancer, birth defects, and mutations. The communitiePs downriver from the tar sands mines in Alberta, Canada, are experiencing escalated rates of rare cancers, and the local wildlife is no longer safe to eat. We must not allow that to happen to over 30 million water drinkers down the Colorado, and to all those who rely on the 15 percent of our nation’s farmland that the Colorado irrigates.
Refining tar sands and oil shale would have an even greater impact on our air quality than refining regular crude. In the Wasatch Front, people already die an average of two years too early, and asthma rates have skyrocketed. We must work to clean our air, not pollute it with fuels dirtier than crude oil.
Tar sands and oil shale mining could decimate over 830,000 acres of federal public lands in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, in and around many of our nation’s most beautiful and remote places. We will not allow our wild heritage to be destroyed for the quick profits of a few.
The consequences of tar sands mining in Canada prove that Utah would be at risk if this incredibly destructive practice were ever allowed to begin here.
Tar sands and oil shale mining and refining contribute substantially to climate change. They put at least 3 times as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as mining and refining regular crude. Climate change forces people around the world to flee their land–becoming refugees–and to deal with drought, massive flooding, and super storms. We will not allow corporations to exacerbate climate change using our lands and resources.
Any jobs tar sands and oil shale operations would allegedly create would not compare to the jobs they would destroy. Utah’s economy relies largely on tourism, and eradicating the beauty of our wild places would have a severe impact on the economies of local communities. Furthermore, Utah’s tax payers are already being forced to pay for the development of infrastructure that would be used for tar sands mining and transport, as has happened many times in the past for attempted tar sands and oil shale projects. They would also bear the brunt of the inevitable costs of cleaning dispersed toxins out of our water, land, and air, in addition to dealing with the health consequences of this pollution–and all for projects that have been demonstrated economically unfeasible time after time.
The choice is clear: We must not allow a single tar sands or oil shale operation to begin in the U.S. The stakes are simply too high, the potential benefits virtually nonexistent. A massive movement against extreme extraction has spread across the continent, taking root in communities from British Columbia to Texas. Together, we have the power to stop these dangerous projects from happening, even if that means physically standing in their way. We vow to resist all tar sands and oil development, for the sake of our own future and for all the generations to come.
Taking a collective stand for justice can be incredibly empowering, bringing people together as a community. Across the continent and throughout the world, many communities like the Lakota people have been taking action for centuries to survive. By signing here, we vow to join them in the fight for justice, rising up together to say NO to tar sands and oil shale development and YES to a livable future–because our ability to take collective action will determine whether we end up with a dying planet or a healthy and just world.