SALT LAKE CITY — The state mining division director said adequate protections are in place for a tar sands project to proceed on the borders of Uintah and Grand counties, despite objections by environmental groups.
The decision issued late Monday by John Baza follows a July 27 informal hearing in which he and other members of the regulatory agency took comments from opponents like Living Rivers and Peaceful Uprising, which argued the long-term impacts to air and water would be significantly detrimental.
Specifically, the groups argued that the operation had the potential to contaminate tributaries that feed into the Colorado River and generate dust pollution to extract a fuel that contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude oil.
The PR Springs Mine is being proposed by Canada-based Earth Energy Resources. It would occupy a 213-acre site and involve the open-pit mining of tar sands to extract 2,000 barrels of bitumen a day over a seven-year period.
Baza said a review of the documents and the information submitted by all parties involved have led him to conclude the necessary protections are in place, including Earth Energy's plans to institute drainage controls, its stormwater protection plan and its reclamation efforts to re-contour and re-vegetate the site.
He also noted that Earth Energy Resources has obtained the necessary clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency as it relates to air quality and has obtained permits from the state Division of Water Quality.
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