Feds Fast-Track Plan To Lease Uinta Basin Lands For Tar Sands Mining

“Proposal triggers protests from environmentalists over climate change implications and unknown long-term impacts on public lands.”

“With the sun setting on the industry-friendly Trump administration and its “energy dominance” agenda for public lands, the Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday proposed leasing 2,100 acres in Utah’s Uinta Basin to tar sands developers.

Environmentalists immediately sounded the alarm about the potential damage to the landscape, proximity to a popular mountain biking area and contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

Utah holds millions of barrels of potential hydrocarbons on the aptly named Asphalt Ridge southwest of Vernal where tar sands development has been underway in fits and starts on state leases for years. Extracting crude oil from tarry bitumen is fraught with technical, environmental and economic challenges and the tar sands industry has yet to produce substantial quantities of oil in Utah, despite decades of trying.”

Brian Maffly reports for the Salt Lake Tribune December 10, 2020.