More Protesters Arrested Over Tar Sands Mining in Utah

For Immediate Release

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Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414

More Protesters Arrested Over Tar Sands Mining in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - The Center for Biological Diversity today pledged solidarity with five protesters arrested last week in Utah for temporarily halting development of the P.R. Springs Mine — the first tar sands-to-fuel strip mine in the United States. The protesters  were rallying against land destruction and climate disruption that would result from tar sands development.

Protester “chipmunks” halted heavy machinery last week at the P.R. Springs tar sands mine in Utah. Photo courtesy Utah Tar Sands Resistance. This photo is available for media use.

The protesters were released from jail last week after the Center and others posted bail. Footage of the protest was released Tuesday. Their arrests followed 21 other arrests at a different protest at the mine in July and 104 arrests last week at the Flood Wall Street climate demonstration in New York City, both of which involved Center staff  and showed growing public frustration of citizens concerned about escalating development of carbon-intense fossil fuels.

“Tar sands strip mining will only dig us deeper into the climate crisis that’s already spelling disaster around the globe,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center. “Those risking their bodies and personal freedoms to keep these dirty fuels in the ground deserve our gratitude.”

The P.R. Springs mine is on state land in northeastern Utah, where tens of thousands of acres of have been leased for oil shale or tar sands. In 2013 the Obama administration opened 810,000 acres — more than 1,200 square miles ­— of publicly owned land to oil shale and tar sands leasing. Together Utah, western Colorado and southwestern Wyoming contain an estimated 19 billion barrels of equivalent oil from tar sands and between 353 billion and 1.146 trillion barrels of oil shale. Greenhouse gas emissions from developing both fuels vastly exceed that of conventional oil.

“State and federal policies are putting us on a very dangerous path by opening lands for more fossil fuel development,” McKinnon said. “The West is already experiencing the climate consequences of greenhouse gas emissions, including record droughts, shrinking snowpacks, reduced Colorado River flows, wildfires and declining species.

“The window for averting catastrophe is quickly closing,” McKinnon said. “Political leaders, including President Barack Obama, have an undeniable moral obligation to take immediate climate action. Until they do, the imperative for civil disobedience will continue to escalate.”

Download the protesters’ press release, images and movie here.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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