Activists in Kanab successfully beat back a plan by Southern Red Sands, LLC to open a 13,000-acre frac sand strip mine 10 miles north of town.
The company had planned to start operations on land leased from the Utah State and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and held mineral rights on surrounding BLM lands. The sand was destined for fracking in Utah’s Uinta Basin.
Southern Red Sands withdrew from the controversial project after negotiating with the Best Friends Animal Society which operates an animal sanctuary near the proposed mine.
Last July, the Kanab City Council and Kane County Water Conservancy District (led by former Utah Legislator Mike Noel) approved a 50-year water rights contract for the mine, raising concerns about damage to local seeps and springs.
Best Friends commissioned a hydrological study that found something even more alarming than expected—the sandy soil near Kanab acts like a sponge to soak up rain water. If the sand is removed, groundwater near Kanab will dry up.
Despite the scientific evidence, Noel stated in a report aired on KUER 90.1 FM, “I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that [the mine] would have had a very minimal effect on the water.”
This is an excerpt from our February EnviroNews column. View the full article here.