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Photo via Utah Tar Sands Resistance

21 arrested in Utah attempting to blockade first U.S. tar sands mine

John Deede | Shale Plays Media Google+

In an act of protest against the first-ever oil sands mine in the United States, 21 activists from the group Utah Tar Sands Resistance were arrested after chaining themselves to a fence and equipment in order to blockade the development of the land. Approximately 80 activists had gathered at the gates of the site off Pope Well Ridge Road in the Book Cliffs region in eastern Utah early Monday. The protest had been sparked by a letter to U.S. Oil Sands from the Environmental Protection Agency declaring that the land they have leased includes areas of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.

Uintah County sheriffs arrived at the scene along with canine units to break up the protest. One of the dogs was reportedly unleashed and then chased the protesters. The activist group Peaceful Uprising claimed that authorities targeted those who were filming the scene. One person involved was treated for heat exhaustion.

The Canadian company U.S. Oil Sands had a lawsuit challenging their water discharge permit thrown out in court, clearing the way for the company to begin its test mine and processing facility. The first phase of the project will take place on 231 acres, but they plan to move forward developing the 32,000 acres that they are currently leasing should the project be successful.

The Utah Tar Sands Resistance has been holding a protest vigil, camping in the hills near the site. The arrest comes after concluding their Climate Justice Summer Camp, a week-long event which took place at the protest site.

Read our additional reporting on the Utah tar sands:

U.S. Oil Sands Inc. prepares to strip mine Utah’s Uinta Basin

The Utah tar sands time bomb

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

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