Can Moab and Utah’s Wildlands Survive the Next Phase of Energy Development?
Utah always blows my mind — the red rocks, the canyons, the rivers, the mountains and … the love of industry, the dirtier the better.
The first stop on our Hitting Home tour was Moab, Utah — a town surrounded by the gorgeous Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Fisher Towers, Dead Horse State Park, and tons of “undesignated” wildlands of astounding beauty.
In town we also saw a tailings pile of uranium mining waste; talked with local residents concerned about impacts from a new plan to fly helicopter tours over the area; we trekked up into the Book Cliffs outside of Moab and saw a test mine for what may be the first U.S. tar sands mine; we saw oil pumpers adjacent to national parks and gas being flared from towers along breathtaking ridges; and we met people who were fighting to protect their land, and the local watershed, from encroaching drilling operations.
In Nearby Dutch Flats, a company is accepting wastewater from fracking operations across the Colorado border, and neighboring Green River has plans for a nuclear power plant and perhaps also a refinery that could process the tar sands coming down from the Book Cliffs.
Utah has always been friendly to energy development — and it has also always been a haven for those who enjoy wild places and wildlife. It’s unclear how long those two value sets can coexist as energy development grows and natural resources like water and clean air grow scarcer.
Stay tuned for a story about tars sand and oil shale development in Utah.
An explosion at a nearby gas drilling well pad jostled John Pitcock awake around 4
I watched Obama deliver his big speech on climate change from my Cricket trailer in
With two months before we hit the road, we just launched our fundraising campaign on