Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook View our linked in profile View our RSS feeds
Your daily source for sustainable business & sustainable investor news.

(view sample issue)

This is an archived story. The information and any links may no longer be accurate.

04/11/2011 10:07 AM     print story email story  

First US Tar Sands Mine Could Open in Utah News

An Alberta, Canada-based company wants to open the first tar sands mine in the US - in Utah.

The Associated Press reports that Earth Energy Resources, Inc., which has more than 7,800 acres of state land under lease, has qualified for a permit to mine on 62 acres.

Due to the energy intensity of refining petroleum from tar sands, the fuels produced have an emissions footprint that is roughly three times as high as gasoline produced from typical oil wells. In addition, the strip mining process destroys the landscape, requires tremendous amounts of water and leaves behind enormous lakes of waste.

The mining process has been underway for years in Alberta, Canada and alongside mountaintop removal mining, it is considered one of the most environmentally destructive practices on the planet. Canada Tar Sands is the largest source of oil for the US. 

With crude prices rising above $100 a barrel, Earth Energy Resources decided to pursue tar sands in Utah, that historically have been used as a cheap replacement for asphalt.

Earth Energy says it uses a citrus-based solvent that will not harm the environment, but the permit is being appealed by environmental groups who don't want to see a precedent set for tar sands mining in the US.

"This is not just a 62-acre project that will last seven years. We are looking at a 30,000-acre project that will destroy the environment in this area over many years," said John Weisheit, a Colorado River guide and founder of the Moab, Utah-based environmental group Living Rivers.

Read the full story:


Reader Comments (5)


Date Posted:
04/12/11 04:12 AM

Oh my goodness.....I'm an environmentalist that can't let oil be developed in a seven by six mile area of Utah. That's right miles down a road, by six miles up a road. The size of a small town. And guess what....Utah doesn't have all that many people living in it. So who will notice a small 7 by 6 mile plot of land being developed anyways? But will be the end of the world....right? Someone will notice the seven mile development immediately and the earth will come to an end. A 30,000 acre project sounds enormous until you know that a square mile has 640 acres in it. Quit being misled by environmentalist lawyers, They get paid to lie for a living.

Report this post


Date Posted:
04/12/11 05:02 AM

Steven, you are quite opinionated about something you know nothing about. Have you done "any" research on the Uinta Basin? Or are you just one of the Uinta Basin community that is looking for work? That being said, let me explain why the bitumen in Eastern Utah and Western Colorado is not in anybodies interest except the local counties using the material for road base. First, in Utah the bitumen is situated in tilted lens shaped deposits in the ground. What may be near the surface in one area will eventually end up with several hundred feet of over burden at the other end. Utah does not have the ease of layered deposits that exist in Alberta Canada. Yes, the bitumen in Utah does not have the attached water molecule like in Canada, but it would take a tremendous amount of earth movement and disruption and energy to get to the deposits. Very bad idea. Get some topo maps and look at some pictures to see the difficulty in getting to these deposits. Second, the Uinta Basin is land locked. There is no where to go with the bitumen. Some would say the Salt lake refineries. They are operating at max capacity now and could not take this material. On top of this problem, there are now so many trucks taking regular crude out of the basin, that they will not allow any more on the road. All of the oil companies that have production in the basin can not operate to full capacity because of the transportation issues. There are no trains into or out of the basin. If it were so easy and profitable to get to the bitumen, there would have been groups doing it long ago. The tech that Earth Energy has, has been around for several years. It would be a serious mistake to mine these deposits just for oil. It would be wise to build all the roads in the area using the deposits. This is and never has been an environmental issue. It has to do with profitability and common sense. With all the mining problems and transportation issues and limited refinery capacity it is not suggested. The other key point about this article that riles me is the fact that this mining permit is supposed to be new. This permit has been in existence for several years. Nice press release for the pump of the stock.

Report this post


Date Posted:
04/12/11 12:49 PM

Look at West Virginia to see what a 'little' environmental disruption ends up to be. Total destruction of the land, air and water and all that need those items to live. Once the foot is in the door, it will be blown off it's hinges and the giant, Big Oil will stomp over the entire area and all the rivers that drain from it will be poisoned or drained dry. We don't need more oil, we need less use of oil.

Report this post


Date Posted:
04/12/11 01:30 PM

Steven-- Are you actually retarded enough to believe that the environmental impact of this project will not extend beyond the "small" area the mine is slated for? Pieces of shit like you are the reason the world is going straight to hell.

Report this post

Fred and Greta Odhner

Date Posted:
09/26/11 01:29 AM

It is vital that this project be halted!!! It threatens the Ogallala fossil aquifer on which our national breadbasket depends, already a rapidly diminishing and unrechargable aquifer. It is already contaminating the water table in Canada. and in the coming decade faining water supply will be an international crisis.

Report this post

Add Your Comment

(Use any name, your real name is not required)
Type the characters you see in the picture below.

home |about us |contact us |advertise |feeds |privacy policy |disclosure

Compare Green Cars   |   Find Alternative Fueling Stations