—by Amy Brunvand
Energy development vs. clean water
You’d think the State of Utah would require water quality and air quality monitoring as a matter of course when they issued permits for expansion of a tar sands strip mine at PR Spring in the Book Cliffs, but you’d be wrong. The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining has refused to require any type of environmental monitoring until recently when Western Resource Advocates and Living Rivers filed a protest.
U.S. Oil Sands, which operates the mine, says there is no need for monitoring because there is no groundwater on the ridge top where the mine is, but geologists have pointed out that groundwater in the area flows down from ridge tops.
Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT-2 and chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources) objected to a new federal regulation intended to keep coal mines from dumping debris into rivers and streams. “Clearly, the Obama administration will stop at nothing to stomp out American livelihoods dependent on coal,” Bishop railed; he had nothing to say about Americans whose lives depend on clean drinking water.
More August 2015 Environews: