As Texas Pipeline Blockade Continues, Activists Challenge First U.S. Tar Sands Mine in Utah

As a direct action blockade of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline continues in Texas, we look at what could be the first actual tar sands and oil shale strip mining operation in the United States. Not far from Moab, Utah, the state has already leased land to a Canadian energy development company that recently changed its name to U.S. Oil Sands. The company plans to mine nearly 6,000 acres in an area of unspoiled wilderness that is also the watershed of the Colorado River, which provides water to more than 30 million people.

The mine itself would be water-intensive in what is already the second driest state in the country, and activists say chemicals used in the mine could pollute the water that is left. We’re joined by two activists working to block the project: John Weisheit, longtime Conservation Director of Living Rivers/Colorado Riverkeeper; and Ashley Anderson, founder and director of “Before It Starts,” which is leading the fight to stop tar sands drilling in Utah.

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