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'People Over Profits!': Climate Justice Groups Slam 'Wholly Irresponsible' Tar Sands Plan

Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance say western land sale puts 'short-term profits' ahead of the planet, attempt to deliver 'People's Environmental Statement'

Common Dreams staff

Dozens of protesters attempted to deliver "The People’s Environmental Impact Statement" on the Bureau of Land Management's "wholly irresponsible" plan to lease over 800,000 acres of land in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming for tar sands and oil shale development to the Bureau's office in Salt Lake City on Monday.

The protest was in reaction to the BLM's plan announced earlier this month that environmental groups said was another sign of the fossil fuel industry's reign of control trumping environmental and climate change concerns.

In an act of solidarity with Tar Sands Blockade, 62 people with Peaceful Uprising and the Utah Tar Sands Resistance attempted to deliver their statement to the public office but were denied entry.

“We believe that this is a terrible way to use our lands. It’s very destructive. It’s akin to mountain top removal in terms of how much land is destroyed. It will poison the water and devastate the habitat of all sorts of natural species,” said Rapheal Cordray with the Utah Tar Sands Resistance.

The statement calls for an immediate stop of any sale of land for tar sands or oil shale mining, saying the plan puts short-term profits over Utah's wilderness.

The statement emphasized the impacts on water, both in terms of taking water rights and contaminating the increasingly scarce resource.  "We the People need water, not oil," they state, and add: 

We the People hold that Utah’s wilderness—our heritage and legacy—must not be destroyed for short-term profits. We the People of Utah rely on our majestic wilderness for our livelihoods, both directly and indirectly, and know that the future of our wilderness and ourselves is the same. We will not stand for the destruction of our nation’s wildest and most beautiful places.

Read "The People’s Environmental Impact Statement" in full here.

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