A coalition of environmental groups has come out in opposition to a massive expansion of oil-shale strip mining in the Uinta Basin. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement that would allow rights-of-way for the Enefit American Oil Utility Project, a corridor of natural gas pipelines, water lines, power lines and roads to supply proposed mines.
The proposed expansion of mining would remove up to 100 billion gallons of water from the already over-allocated Colorado River basin during the next 30 years.
It would increase air pollution in an area that already violates federal air quality standards. Oil shale refining emits nearly 40% more carbon dioxide per unit of energy than conventional oil.
Enefit (an Estonian company) claims they will expand mining even without the permit, but has refused to supply any information to support that claim.
Nonetheless, BLM concluded that the utility corridor would have little additional environmental impact due to the fact that it would supposedly not impact the scope of mining. The circular logic seems to be an effort to avoid environmental review of the project.
In Canada, cancer clusters have developed among people who live downwind of oil and tar sands mining.
Groups opposing the Enefit permit are Earthjustice, Grand Canyon Trust, Waterkeeper Alliance, Living Rivers, Sierra Club, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Center for Biological Diversity, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council.