TAR SANDS PROTEST

Monday’s protest brought protesters to the Seep Ridge Road where one protestor in ‘lock down’ attached himself to the top of a trackhoe boom as two other protesters tied-off a warning sign to the equipment

Some 80 environmental activists gathered on the Seep Ridge Road on the southern tip of Uintah County on Monday, July 29 to protest energy activity in the area.

Their protest brought the paving project on the Seep Ridge Road, roughly 65 miles south of Vernal to a halt for the day as activists were chained, duck-taped and locked-down onto road building equipment in an act of civil disobedience.

“Today, we’ve come here to show our power in stopping business as usual for US Oil Sands and any other extraction organization in the area,” said spokesperson Lauren Wood, with the group Peaceful Uprising.

Wood, a self-described third-generation raft guide and seventh-generation Utahn, lives in Vernal during the summer.

Peaceful Uprising along with two other organizations, Tar Sands Resistance and Canyon Country Rising Tide chose the location based on the imminent tar sands development.

“This particular project-protest was chosen because it is the first commercial tar sands mining operation threatening the United States,” Wood said.

Protesters used the construction on the Seep Ridge Road to draw attention to the potential destruction of the remote Book Cliffs on the east side of the Tavaputs Plateau.

“Because it’s our backyard, we as locals decided to put our foot down, and say ‘stop it,”one protester who declined to be named said.

Protesters climbed onto land moving equipment temporarily parked on the roadway – nothing was moving.

“Respect existence or expect resistance,” cites a protester’s make-shift stop sign.

A woman who had been chained to a road-grader stepped down after hours of protest, saying “it’s devastating to see this land exploited in this manner,”

Renae Widdison, protester, said that the threat to the air, water and land; especially, in the Basin has to be addressed.

“We need more public discussion of this development.”

Protestors say their goal was to demonstrate their power to defend the land and re-establish priorities.

The initial call came into Central Dispatch around 9 a.m. and despite the daylong delay, construction road crews remained respectful of the protesters.

So too, were the Uintah County Sheriff’s Department deputies, who were on-site throughout the day, according to Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen.

“There were no arrests and no citations, and we’d like to keep it that way,” Laursen said.

Representatives for the construction contractors had not returned calls for comment as of press time Tuesday morning.

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(10) entries

loopkelly

Every construction project should be done wisely from the beginning to the end. The City Hall didn't act normally in this situation, first of all, its representatives should have kept a meeting to discuss with the community all the changes that this construction will bring once it is done. Having professional construction equipment, like the one from http://www.proservanchor.com/ and construction materials will help the builder only if he has the community approval.

kenu lorsen

Life means many things, but besides taking care of your family, home and working, you should take care of you. Anyone, especially if she is a woman must have a beauty routine.

Sphenodon

Gee whiz, commonsense, I get out as much as I can. Now let's examine your comment logically. Recreationally, the Book Cliffs are a hunter's paradise. But they have vehicles - we call 'em trucks, hereabouts - that don't need a Los Angeles expressway to get where they are going. In fact, they probably don't care to make it that much easier for Wasatch Front and Colorado Front Range hunters to get into the backcountry that much easier of a weekend. They've also got to wonder how many muleys and elk will be road killed? And you know something, commonsense? Recreationally, that's the only main draw for the Book Cliffs. Check out what is being touted by the Dinosaurland touriism board; Dinosaur National Park, Flaming Gorge, the High Uintas...but the Book Cliffs are not what people drive across the country to see. Again, I ask you - if that's the case, how come the state of Utah isn't involved. As for your comment about energy workers traveling - it's a subsidy to that industry alone, that no one is willing to supply...except Uintah County, using lease monies that were supposed to be spent mitigating energy industry's impacts. S-U-B-S-I-D-Y.

commonsense

sphenodon, You really should get out more often. Travel the SeepRidge and SR 45. Check out all the Industry and recreational people that use these roads. Then check out all the great opportunities around Vernal. I think that our tax dollars, as well as the Extraction Industry tax dollars are, for the most part, being spent wisely. Yes, getting to and from work in a safe and timely manner is very important to many of us and our families.

Sphenodon

I think - I'm not sure, now - that you are saying that a highly expensive road to a "now abandoned" facility serves a good purpose. If that's what you think, no wonder you feel the millions of dollars spent on the Seep Ridge Road serves a "good purpose"; because that's what you, me, and everyone else will get, a few years from now. An "abandoned facility". But that is skirting my complaint, which is this: Mineral lease royalties returned to the county are to be spent benefitting the ENTIRE community that is affected by extractive industries, building city streets, parks, etc. Not to be spent as a subsidy to the very industries that create the impacts. Otherwise, why not just stop collecting the royalties, let the energy industry keep those monies, and let them build their own roads.
And don't kid yourself that turning the Seep Ridge Road into a highway is mitigating the impacts of industry. Please don't; it only sounds foolish. That road, that multi-million dollar boondoggle, is being built with those public funds, for the benefit of industry. Ask yourself this; if that highway is so neccessary, then why isn't Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) spending state taxpayer dollars to build it? Hmmm??

commonsense

Sphenodon, I'm not sure who funded SR 45 30 years ago, but this dead end road to nowhere that was built primarily for Deseret Generation and the now abandoned White River Shale sure serves a good purpose. And so will SR 88 (Seep Ridge Road) sometime in the near future. Or not?

Sphenodon

You always have my complete, fascinated attention, commonsense - for example, when you exclaim, "Idoits!" Think about it. Obviously, you don't like the Endangered Species Act, fair enough. As a law, the ESA was passed by Congress, signed by the Pres, and is funded by our elected officials dictating how much tax money will be spent. In other words, it is money being spent by our elected officials as part of representative government. To repeat, the mineral lease monies are set up to mitigate the impacts of extractive industry, spent on the surrounding communities. Instead, the Uintah County Commission in particular spends it as a subsidy to those very industries, rather than on things that will benefit the community as a whole. It wouldn't bother me so much, except for the fact that such roads cost millions upon millions of dollars, and Uintah County will not always be so well-funded. If not outright illegal (I don't really know, not being lawyer enough), it is at least contrary to the way those funds are supposed to be spent. Can't you see the difference between that and the way that a properly written, passed, signed and funded federal law works? Or not?

commonsense

Well. I certainly got your attention sphenodon. How about my $ back for the endangered fish program, introduction of the Black-footed ferret, our President and first lady's separate vacations, 100+ million dollar trip to Africa, and so on, and so on, and so on:.....................Just sayin.


Sphenodon

Well, they certainly got YOUR attention. The good that could result from this is that people may scrutinize this issue closely. There are good horses to bet on, and poor horses. Tar sands are a very poor horse to bet on, for anything beyond creating good road base. And I think tar sands have a future for just that - road base. But it isn't going to solve anyone's energy problems, unless you count getting subsidies - taxpayer dollars - for your industry. Our county officials back the paving of this road with our own mineral lease royalties (through the Special Service Districts), and don't kid yourself, it's not for the benefit of anyone but the extractive industries. I'd like some of THOSE dollars back for their original purpose; to mitigate the impacts of the original extractive industry. Each million of dollars spent on this road to nowhere - and how many millions of dollars is that, would anyone like to guess? - is a million dollars that could have been spent paving the roads here in Roosevelt, or in Vernal, or be spent in any number of ways that benefit the public. Can I have some of THAT money back, please?

commonsense

We, the taxpayers of Utah should send a bill to Peaceful Uprising and any other organization that is taking credit for this stunt that they participated in. We could then re-imburse the Contractor performing the road construction for their lost time and any trash clean up or other damages.

I think that it is a good thing that Uintah County law enforcement did not arrest the demonstrators and that the contractor's employees didn't use violence against them.
I am sure that these weirdoes were very disappointed with the reaction from the locals.

How much fuel do you think that these 80 people used to travel to this area to demonstrate? How many got lost finding this area? How much for law enforcement?
All this to protest a project that started a couple of years ago to protest a route that has been there for over 100 years?

Idoits!

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