(EnviroNews Utah) — Salt Lake City, Utah — This was the scene in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah on November 12, 2014 as protestors from the group Utah Tar Sands Resistance (UTSR) assembled in front of the Alta Club building to voice their opposition to the Delaware-based, French-backed company Red Leaf Resources.
The event was staged to coincide with Red Leaf’s annual shareholder meeting in an effort to deter would-be investors from putting their money into the company – a financial choice that UTSR equates to throwing precious dollars away into the fire of Red Leaf’s proposed massive rock-cooking oven.
The protest was also intended to voice opposition against dirty fossil fuels as a whole, as well as the company’s oil shale strip-mining project; currently underway in its preliminary stages in Northeastern Utah.
Oil shale and tar sands mining are considered to be the nastiest and most carbon intensive means of fossil fuel extraction on the planet, and when it comes to these toxic bitumen-loaded deposits, nobody in the known world has more than Utah and Colorado.
It has recently been calculated that the formations adjoining these two western states hold an oil sands reserve about 25 times the size of Canada’s Alberta project. Up to 4 trillion barrels of oil are now estimated to lie in wait between Utah and Colorado and for you economists out there, that’s more petrol than has been used in all of human history to date.
A multitude of now defunct tar sands and oil shale experiments have been perpetrated on the region over the past 30 years, of which nearly all wound up bankrupt and floating in the wind without even a barrel of produced oil to show for their reckless plunders. Many of the region’s early tar sands extraction efforts attempted no cleanup at all following the failures, as these projects emanated from the good ol’ days of Ronal Reagan deregulation.
Nearly every time a new company has emerged and proposed another tar sands plan throughout the years, it has nearly always been the same story — and that story goes a little something like this: First, the operator claims to wield an almost magical new proprietary technology that it must keep hidden as a trade secret, but telling everyone to rest assured because it will undoubtedly yield a gazillion barrels of oil, while scarcely using any water at all. And of course when it’s all done, the land will be reclaimed and restored, leaving it better than Mother Nature herself had created it in the first place. And so the tale is commonly told.
In the case of Red Leaf, its proprietary “EcoShale” technology has been widely criticized for being a “greenwashing” poster-child. In essence, the company intends to construct a massive rock-cooking kiln in the earth itself, where shale-containing deposits will be heated using fracked-gas to about 700 degrees for a period of months or even years, in hopes of eventually harvesting extracted liquid hydrocarbons out of what UTSR is now saying would constitute the “world’s largest oven.”
It would seem that concerned citizens and environmental groups alike are wising up in regards to these same old “proprietary technology” pitches, and are determined to stop, stifle, stymie and squash industrial tar sands’ plans at every available juncture.
For EnviroNews Utah – Emerson Urry – Salt Lake City, Utah.