Yesterday, about 80 activists formed a blockade to halt construction of a tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of eastern Utah. The mine is being built by US Oil Sands, a Canadian company, and would be the first in the US. The action was led by the Climate Justice Summer Camp, which was holding a two-week direct action camp nearby.
The mine is located on traditional Ute hunting lands and in the Colorado River Basin, which provides drinking water to 40 million people. As Peaceful Uprising argues,
Tar sands and oil shale mining and refining, if allowed to begin in the U.S., would rob us of our water rights. The Colorado’s flow is diminishing, not increasing, and these mining and refining processes require massive amounts of water. This inescapable reality would cause widespread conflicts over water, as water rights were seized from farmers and communities. We will not allow tar sands and oil shale profiteers to seize the water that rightfully belongs to everyone.
During the protest, those locked to equipment were arrested along with other supporters, leading to 21 arrests total, and protesters were faced with police brutality. To follow the events of the blockade and give support, go to the twitter feed for Utah Tar Sands Resistance and donate on their website: http://www.tarsandsresist.org/ or here.
For background, check out our KPFK interview from March with Melanie Martin, from Peaceful Uprising.