(KCPW News) Activists groups are protesting tar sands extraction in Utah this afternoon in front of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration or SITLA building in downtown Salt Lake City. The protest includes members of Peaceful Uprising, Utah Tar Sands Resistance, Occupy SLC and others. Raphael Cordray with Utah Tar Sands Resistance says the practice of obtaining oil through more extreme measures is becoming more lucrative. Currently there is a tar sands mining proposal in the Book Cliffs area of Eastern Utah.
“The SITLA administration is a trust and their mandate is to actually preserve these lands in perpetuity and to benefit the school system for the future, long term. If they sell off the land to be ground up into rubble and just destroyed, then it isn’t for the long term,” says Cordray.
Cordray says it takes three barrels of water, two barrels of natural gas and a ton of dirt to get one barrel of oil using this method. She points to the Alberta Tar Sands mine in Canada, which is so large it can be seen from outer space.
“The tar sands area that SITLA’s already leased, and they have not began mining that but they’re preparing too, it’s at the headwaters of the Colorado river, so if those tailings ponds leach into the Colorado River there’s 30 million people who drink that water,” says Cordray.
Cordray says Chippewa Indians downstream of the Alberta mine have extreme rates of cancer that research has shown can be attributed to petroleum. She says the goal of the demonstration is to call on Utah officials to stop tar-sands leases in Utah.