(KCPW News) A Utah environmental group is appealing the state’s decision to permit a Canadian company to mine tar sands in eastern Utah. Earth Energy Resources plans to mine 213 acres on the border of Grand and Uintah Counties. John Weisheit with Living Rivers says the state hasn’t properly researched the chemicals the company plans to use in the mining process.
“Obviously they’re very potent chemicals because they can melt tar sands. Our concern is this is going to hurt the Colorado Green River system by introducing chemicals into the river system and it’s also going to contribute to climate change because these are dirty fuels,” said Weisheit.
Weisheit notes this would be the first tar sands extraction in the United States, so there is no history of how to regulate the practice.
“The Division of Oil, Gas and Mining is basically looking at this as if it’s a drill rig looking for oil or gas,” he said. “This is a totally different kind of application that’s never been done before, and so there is a lot of unknowns, and we would like to bring those unknowns into the record.”
Living Rivers appealed the decision to the Board of Oil, Gas and Mining yesterday. Earth Energy Resources declined to comment.