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A banner unfurled at the Utah tar sands site earlier this year. (Photo: Utah Tar Sands Resistance)

A banner unfurled at the Utah tar sands site earlier this year. (Photo: Utah Tar Sands Resistance)

Blockade at First Tar Sands Site in US Challenges 'Brazen Disregard for Climate Crisis'

Activists target construction at PR Spring tar sands site in Utah

Andrea Germanos

Twenty-one protesters were arrested Monday at a blockade set up to thwart construction work on the first tar sands mine in the United States—a project the activists say will cause irreparable damage to water, land and the climate.

According to a statement from Utah Tar Sands Resistance, roughly 80 climate justice activists took part in the direct action, some of whom locked themselves to equipment. Others unfurled a banner reading "You are trespassing on Ute land," referring the project's encroachment on native land, and "Respect Existence or Expect Resistance."

Rising Tide North America is coordinating donations for legal support for the activists that were arrested.

The plans for the extraction in the Book Cliffs of Utah by Calgary-based US Oil Sands have drawn years of resistance from land defenders.

Monday's action challenging the company's PR Spring project comes at the tail end of a week-long Climate Justice Summer Camp, which takes place at a permanent protest vigil organized by Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising.

"US Oil Sands perfectly demonstrates capitalism's brazen disregard for the climate crisis, human and tribal rights and rights of the planet itself to be free of dangerous corporate parasites," stated Jessica Lee, a spokesperson for the climate justice groups.

US Oil Sands has touted its first-of-its kind tar sands extraction process using citrus-based solvents that "will smell lemony fresh" as being environmentally friendly—a claim critics slam as "insane."

Follow tweets from Utah Tar Sands Resistance below to see updates on those arrested:


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