The first U.S. tar sands mine just opened in Utah. The opening of the mine occurred amid extensive protests and environmental activists. Both Canada and Venezuela already have similar mines.
Cameron Todd, the CEO of the first U.S. tar sands mine, has insisted that the endeavor will be the most “environmentally responsible” project of this type ever conducted.
“We’re dedicated to having the world’s most environmentally responsible oil sands project ever built,” Todd said during an interview with KSL News.
— KSL (@KSLcom) August 22, 2015
The mine evolved only after 10 years of preparation and approximately $100 million worth of investments. The U.S. Oil Sand company is nearly ready to being tar sands operations on Book Cliffs in the eastern region of Utah.
4 Arrested Blockading the U.S. First Tarsands Mine in Utah http://t.co/Fsmh1gKrSG pic.twitter.com/e236jGFwii
— Ecology Pictures (@EI_EcoPictures) August 16, 2015
Tar Sands Resistance Movement activist Melanie Martin referred to the scene at the first U.S. tar sands mine as “heartbreaking.”
“It’s heartbreaking to see what they’ve been doing out here. It’s impossible to reclaim and rehabilitate the land once they do what they are planning to do with it. The land is not going to come back for millennia.”
U.S. Oil Sand will reportedly utilize a “natural orange-peel” extract during the process that separates the dirt from the oil. Such a process typically involves the use of harsh chemicals. The state of Utah has also reportedly issued requirements that the tar sands mining operation must adhere to while at Book Cliffs. Both air and water quality will be tightly monitored, and the mine land must be rehabilitated and no barren land or open pits left after the operation has completed.
According to an EcoWatch report, four environmental activists were arrested during protests focused on thwarting the first tar sand mine in the United States. An Associated Press report indicates that mine opponents camped out in the area all summer to register their displeasure about the tar sands operation. Protesters reportedly held signs that said “Dirty Energy Kills” and banged drums while workers went about their daily tasks.
Mining tar sands is an expensive process. The recent drop in oil barrel prices could pose a significant obstacle of U.S. Oil Sands. When the project began, the price of oil peaked at around $147 per barrel, the cost is now just below $50 per barrel.
What do you think about the first U.S. tar sands mine?
[Image via: Shutterstock.com]