(EnviroNews Utah) – At an outing on the majestic Tavaputs Plateau in Utah where families with children had congregated in protest of America’s first approved commercial tar sands mine, Shad Engkilterra, reporter for local EnviroNews Utah gave his account of his visit to the old and abandoned Leonard Murphy bitumen mining operation positioned less than a mile away from the newly approved U.S. Oil Sands test site.
“During my first visit to the Leonard Murphy Mine at the Utah Tar Sands Resistance family campout, I was surprised at my body’s reaction to the fumes coming off of the tar that is leaking from the mine. I had only been at the mine for about 10 minutes before my eyes started burning and watering and my nose became stuffy.”
“I spent an extra five minutes in the area because there were some deposits of tar further down the hill that I wanted to be sure to get pictures of. That was all I could stand. While everyone else was still exploring the destruction left in the wake of a mine that was decommissioned 30 years ago, I had to get out.”
“I walked back up the trail to the fork where I met with my producer. He asked me to show him to the site. I hesitated, but he had the camera, and there were some shots he needed to get. I took him down to the site, pointed out where the tar leaks were and told him what animals I had seen in them and informed him I needed to leave.”
“That evening, he commented on how bloodshot my eyes looked. My eyes had been watering all day.”
“The next day, my producer showed up and said that he needed some additional camera shots at the Leonard Murphy Mine. He also needed me to be in them. I agreed to go in spite of my body’s reaction the day before because I think it is important that people see what has happened with that mine and what could happen with new tar sands development.”
“I didn’t know that we would find a chipmunk stuck in the tar waiting to die. If I had, I may have been better prepared with some olive oil or Dawn and some gloves. Instead, I had to settle for a stick and the knowledge that I had failed at helping a fellow life form that wanted nothing more than to live and was being punished for the actions that man had taken against the land.”