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In Utah, First U.S. Tar Sands Mine Approved

Tar Sands mining has received the official go ahead in Utah. The state Water Quality Board approved the application, giving U.S. Oil Sands a permit. According to EcoWatch, U.S. Oil Sands is headquartered in Alberta, Canada.

In a 9-2 vote, the UWQB gave U.S. Oil Sands the green light to begin extracting bitumen from its PR Spring Oil Sands Project, located in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah. The UWQB concluded that there’s no risk of groundwater pollution from tar sands extraction for the prospective mining project.

Members of the public were allowed to attend the hearing but ‘were not permitted to provide input,’ according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

According to EcoWatch, the “commercial startup” date for the Utah Tar Sands project is late 2013.

Two main grassroots activist groups are currently battling Utah’s upstart tar sands industry: Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Before It Starts.

Meanwhile, in East Texas, the Tar Sands Blockade is in its 36th day. Efforts there are to stop the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, planned to run from Canada to the Texas coast.

Go here for a slide show of Tar Sands mining in Canada, described by the Daily Mail as “the most destructive industrial project on earth.”

More from EcoWatch:

The U.S. tar sands are deemed a ‘strategically important domestic resource that should be developed to reduce the growing dependence of the U.S. on politically and economically unstable sources of foreign oil imports’ in Sec. 369 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Most well-known for the ‘Halliburton Loophole,’ the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts oil and gas corporations from complying with the dictates of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, making the chemicals injected into the ground (and into groundwater) while hydraulic fracturing for unconventional gas a ‘trade secret.’ The law was written with the helping hand of oil and gas executives via then Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in 2001.

(Tar Sand Protest Utah via EcoWatch)

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