Wednesday, the Utah Water Quality Board will hear testimony on the Utah Water Division’s recommendation to allow the U.S. Oil Sands PR Springs Tar Sands project to move forward without a water pollution discharge permit. Utah Tar Sands Resistance Spokesperson Lionel Trepanier says the project could have grave environmental effects and endanger groundwater.
“This flies in the face of science, and it’s an absurd position for the state to be taking. If these Tar Sands are developed this could be our last chance to have a livable planet. The amount of carbon dioxide released by tar sand mining is like no other oil on the planet,” he says.
A DEQ Spokesperson was unavailable for comment; however the Utah Water Division’s recommendation was based on the premise that there is no standing groundwater to pollute at the PR Springs site. However, Trepanier says geological studies going back more than a decade show that PR Springs has an extensive water network, and mining could lead to toxins showing up downstream.
“In 1999 the geological survey put out a report, a summary of groundwater resources and geo hydrology of Grand County, Utah. There you can see on page five it says that re-charged Grand County aquifers, is principally from infiltration of precipitation and stream flow primarily originating in the book cliffs,” he says.
The Utah Tar Sands Resistance group will hold an informational groundwater science fair Wednesday from 8:30 to 11 am outside the DEQ Board Room to explain the potential negative effects of the project and alternative options. The meeting of the state’s Water Quality Board begins at 9:30 a.m.
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