Stop Tar sands mining in Utah


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Captain...or Skully

Apr 23, 2013 - 02:01am PT

Social climber
Apr 23, 2013 - 02:43am PT
Can you cite one example, just one, of a large mining operation conducted by private enterprise, in the U.S. that bore the cost of environmental degradation?

One will do, just one....

The Cannon Mine that ran in Wenatchee from 1980-1994 comes to mind. It was a big modern mine and it has been reclaimed. I got a tour just before it shut down in 1994.

Hereís the link:

As for the oil sands hereís the link to the company website:

The stock is trading for $.09/share. So the endeavor sits there in dreamer and schemer territory.

Iíve seen plans drawn by Occidental to mine the thrust at McKittrick back in the 1970s.

A carbon tax isnít such a bad idea; should nuclear have an irradiation tax? What is in those solar panels and is it good for groundwater? What is going to happen to the desert tortoise? How do you put a price on the surface occupancy and the bird kill of a wind farm? How much water does geothermal mine and how do you assess earthquake risk? If were willing to go to war in Iraq over the steady supply of oil to the Western hegemony and spend treasure and spill blood what does that say about us that we want it pristine in our neck of the wood?

I donít quite know how to process fact that two biggest factors to the reduction of the USA atmospheric CO2 release was the great recession and the abundance of natural gas that has been created from fracking. Fracking is wholly a creation of the free market. If an industry can sprout, exist, and profit within the regulatory maze of the USA why shouldn't it be allowed to run its course?

9 cents is cheap; but Iím not buying.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 23, 2013 - 11:01am PT
Nope, none of us.


State of Mine
Apr 23, 2013 - 03:04pm PT
All I hear is bitch, bitch, bitch. All people want is sub three dollar gas. Well, it is over three bucks because we burn a quarter of the world's production.

While we go around building aircraft carriers, other countries build rail and subway systems. So suck on it. It drives me crazy when people bitch about gas prices.

someone must have drilled into a raw nerve.....pun intended.

by the way, tax the crap out of gas and lets use it for something useful like better mass transit.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 23, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
BASE, I would like to propose adding synchronization of urban traffic lights to your list, along with better public transit. As to the latter, it should not surprise you that my solution differs from the big public works championed by the current "progressive" (but in fact economically reactionary) agenda.

The best public transit system I ever experienced was in Beirut when I was there for several weeks in 1970. They had no light rail, but they had a seemingly infinite number of black Mercedes 190D taxis. My relatives spent the summer months in the cooler mountains east of the city. They owned a pharmacy in the Hamra area, near the "downtown." Every morning, we would walk a couple of blocks to an area where the taxis congregated, find one heading toward the Hamra, and get in. When there were four passengers, the driver would take off. It usually took no more than a minute to fill the taxi, and it was then a nonstop, 40 kilometer ride to the Hamra.

The sight of the morning commute, with roads filled with seemingly identical black Mercedes 190D's, was something to behold. They also had regular buses, but the taxis formed the backbone of the system.

Here, we seem fixated on large scale. True, a ten-car passenger train uses less fuel per passenger/mile than a car with five people, but only if the train is full. The flexible, relatively market-driven and lightly-regulated taxi fleet of Beirut in 1970 formed a far superior transportation system to the bus or rail systems in most of our cities. it saddens me to see how rigid we've become in transportation options.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 23, 2013 - 04:32pm PT
Berlin also has a fleet of Mercedes taxis, but they are tan not black. Taxis everywhere.

But they also have a first class train and tube system, publicly funded. Hmmmmn, those trains run on time, too.

Oh and Germans seem to ride a shitload of bicycles as well. And then there is the walking - they seem to prefer getting off the train and walking the rest of the way to work (or where ever else they wish to go).

I saw very few fat Germans.

But you know what? Neither Berlin nor Beruit examples will work here in the US. Its just different.


Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 23, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
The taxi driver was smart. He got multiple fares with the same expense as taking one passenger. I assume that one of his main costs was fuel.

There is a really good point to be made here. Car pooling or just not driving...any way to more efficiently use carbon based fuels, is the way to go. Instead, if you are on a commute, count how many cars there are that contain one person.

Many mining companies pay for clean-ups of old environmental damage to the groundwater. There was an old lead-zinc smelter in northern Oklahoma, and I believe the legacy owner ended up being Phelps-Dodge. My wife headed the state monitoring of the clean up, and she said that they were quite easy to work with. Cleanups are part of their budget. Other companies run and hide like crazy over superfund or RCRA laws.

My wife is a high ranking worker at the state land protection division. I hear about environmental cleanup woes and successes every night at dinner.

I'm not saying that all mining is good. All I'm saying is that the human race has been mining since before the Bronze Age. We still need and use metals, no matter how green you think you are. So I really get pissed when somebody sneeringly calls companies greedy.

They are no more greedy than most of us as individuals. This is just what they do. Most acid mine runoff is from old, old, sulfide deposit mines. When that rock finally meets fresh water, which is acidic, it weathers the tailings. With modern mines you have to treat the runoff.

We are caught up in this catch 22. People get angry over ugly environmental damage, but when product prices go up, they blame greedy companies who simply sell the metals or oil or coal on the open market.

We are the ones who demand. We need to cut demand on nigh everything, but particularly with carbon based fuels.

By the way, air travel is by far the least efficient form of travel when it comes to oil use.

Me? I get up, walk fifteen feet to my home office, fire up the computers, and go find oil and gas without ever driving. The only real trip that I've been on this year was a 4 hour round trip (alone) last week, for a meeting with a client.

Just be careful about how you use what little oil we have left. The days of cheap wells and gushers is long gone. The true cost of oil is mainly overseas, where entire countries and lives are involved. If we used half of what we use, we wouldn't be reliant on the middle east, and we could yank out our huge military presence.

For a great read on the topic of oil, go buy The Prize. It is exhaustively researched and covers oil from its initial discovery until today, including the Gulf War.

You don't think we went to war in Kuwait because a little country got knocked off do you? We did it because Iraq, and Sadaam Hussein, who we had been in bed with for years, but was an evil dude, suddenly doubled his oil reserves overnight. Iraq was instantly Saudi Arabia, and that could not be tolerated. He who controls supply controls price, and the exporting nations control supply. Every oil company on the planet, although they are big companies, are a fly on the ass of the exporting countries, who have the bulk of the world's supply.

We, as a race, need to get off of oil. We are running out of "cheap oil," and mother nature is already kicking in as demand still rises as supply peaks. That is why oil is 90 bucks and we still pay for it. It is going to only get worse, and we cannot do anything about it beyond the 2 year congressional election cycle. We are incapable of running our country as efficiently as even a no-name company.

We just want, want, want, want. Americans are the worst.

I've been for a carbon tax since it first came up over twenty years ago. The only way to make people conserve is to make it too expensive to waste.

So when you look at all of the environmental damage, don't make it an us and them issue. It is an us issue, and we need to look in the mirror to find the solution.

We are already over halfway to the co2 level of the late Jurassic/Cretaceous hothouse event, which was caused by a massive period of volcanism. I think that we are either very close to, or have already passed, the tipping point beyond doing anything about it.

That mountain top coal is burned to give you electricity. We all use electricity, and coal is the largest generation fuel. Just turn the lights off. Look at Las Vegas, sucking up all of that Lake Mead hydro power.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 23, 2013 - 04:48pm PT
Base I'm sure I have one of the highest carbon footprints of Taco civilians.

But be that as it may, what I said is we're not complaining about fuel prices, those of us posting to this thread.

I'd add a few pennies more per gallon to save Utah from the miners's shovel, all for a few pints more of (soon to be burnt) fuel.


Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 23, 2013 - 04:49pm PT

We have never invested in an efficient transportation system in this country. We spend our money on military adventures.

If you are ever in a big eastern city and enjoy the subway or the bus system, it is great and cheap.

I'll give you an example of a country who is really taking care of its oil: Iran.

Iran has some of the largest gas fields on Earth. They have sold their domestic oil to its citizens at a cheap price.

Iran is peaking right now, and since their only source of money is oil, they are converting their transportation infrastructure to natural gas so that they can sell the oil and up the nation's income.

So you have some savage muslim clerics who are more far sighted that us. We are sitting on massive deposits of natural gas, which is cleaner than any other fossil fuel. If we just switched our transportation fleet to natural gas, it would be a good strategic and environmental move.

The only downside with natural gas is that a tankful takes you about half as far as a tank of gasoline.

China has very little oil, but massive coal deposits. That's why their air is brown. The Chinese actually invest in the oil and gas plays in the United States. No sh#t. I've gotten the maps ready to put in the data room for potential joint venture partners. Total..the French, Statoil, the Norwegians, and CNOOC, the Chinese, all come in for a look and then buy a part of the play.

Yep. The Chinese are drilling in the United States. They can't import it obviously, but it doesn't matter where you find it. The income they make pays for the imports that they get from the Middle East.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 23, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
DMT, I've just seen your posts on so many energy threads. You need to understand how it works. Go buy The Prize. It weighs about two pounds, but if you want to understand oil, I highly recommend that you start with that book. Then you will see that world power and domination has a deep connection with oil.

It sucks, I know, but if you have to fly, OK. My plumber needs a big truck. I don't have to fly or buy a big truck.

You are doing your best.

Do you understand what I'm saying? For most of us it is a choice. Not for you or my plumber, so that's fine.

I don't need a big truck or to fly. You are like my plumber. You fly for a reason.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 23, 2013 - 05:43pm PT

Every time I visit a city with a good, cheap, subway/metro/el/BART/light rail system, I'm always jealous and think "What can we do to bring that here?"

Unfortunately, the answer comes out the same: nothing will make such a system make sense here with our current population density. Car pools work, if the schedules of the car pool participants remain predictably stable. I was able to car pool for my first job out of college, but public transportation, even seemingly cheap and convenient public transportation, has some inherent disadvantages relative to a private vehicle.

When I lived in Pasadena and worked in downtown LA, (before the days of the LA Metro) I took an RTD bus to and from work. It stopped one block from my apartment, and three or four blocks from the office. It ran every six minutes when I left for work in the morning, and at a similar interval from about 4:00 to about 6:00 p.m. Despite this, I found that I was losing about 40 minutes per day compared with driving, and most of this extra time was not productive because I could do little work on the bus, partly because of privacy concerns for clients, and partly because I wasn't that likely to have a seat.

In addition, I often had to be in the office past 6:00 p.m., and the service intervals quickly became enormous. If I had to carry anything voluminous home (and I often did), finding a place to put it on the bus made the trip an ordeal.

In contrast, taking a car alone cost about $1.00 per trip more in direct expenses, but had at least the following advantages:

1. It allowed me 40 more minutes of productive time a day -- and I was billing then at a rate of several dollars a minute. This fact alone more than paid for the extra cost of driving;

2. I could control my environment. It was exactly as warm or cool as I wanted, I listened to exactly what I wanted to hear, I wasn't going to sit next to someone who stunk, or who talked or otherwise annoyed me (of course, I exchanged that annoyance for the annoyance of incompetent drivers) -- and I was guaranteed a seat.

3. My car left exactly when I wanted to, from exactly where I was, and arrived exactly where I wanted to go.

4. I could carry anything that would fit in a car with an enormous trunk.

5. I could make unanticipated trips to outlying courts or offices, and

6. Since my car was garaged adjacent to my office in a reserved space, it was much more convenient in the (admittedly rare) rain.

I've seen several campaigns trying to get people out of their cars, but none address the advantages of a private automobile, or accept that those choosing to use one might be making a rational choice. Designing a system that we know requires the public to prefer it (rather than being compelled to use it) would force us to make a transportation system based on people's rational preferences, rather than on our ideas of what's best for someone else.


Apr 23, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
In Canada we have a carbon tax, we also have funds that tey pay into for returning the land back to some sort of original state.

I'm calling B.S. on that one "buddy" You boys sure are gud at greenwash up here, but your time has come! It's a joke what you do with those funds! Basically a slush fund into the pockets of company friends of some of your unelected senators...

Only in Canada would you believe you can "return the land back to some sort of original state"

It's not Apples to Apples with the US and CA. You guys poop in the river and call it a fart! Old growth logging is the standard policy up here has been so you can "grow faster more productive stands" I think I'm in the majority here when I say, most in CA would like to see more good jobs that don't involve resources. Can't gov. do something there?

Remember your clean waters act? Well tell me how many CA water ways are protected (ie require monitoring) now? 2 miles, is it even that? Yeah, you see the US has this little thing called checks and balances! Nice little artifact of the ass whooping we gave the Brits! We can't have some gov. get elected and wipe away all our laws and protections like CA can.

Go figure, your people vote for the house- house appoints the MP- MP appoints the entire Senate! and they force everything they want down the throats the other 4 partys! Gee maybe needing 21% of the vote to win ain't such a good thing after all?

We got problems for sure, but at the end of the day we'll have old growth forest, pristine wilderness, and natural examples of what it was like before we f*#ked it up.

CA's fed owns like 4% of the land and protects none of it. Hell, your endangered species act covers all of 6 animals right now! All the power lies with the Province and as we all know giving the locals all the control and they'll never see past their nose! Having that check n balance on the fed/state level is what helps maintain enviro laws.

US fed owns like 40% of the land (the people's land) There is no comparison between the US and Canada on environmental issues in my opinion.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 23, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
well a carbon tax would answer John's statement:
"I've seen several campaigns trying to get people out of their cars, but none address the advantages of a private automobile... " by increasing the cost relative to mass transit the "advantages" (which is mostly just convenience) would have a cost...
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 23, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
That was breathtakingly ignorant of reality concerning both the structure of Canadian government and environmental policy, Roadman.

Congratulations !
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 23, 2013 - 11:06pm PT
There's been noticed an unintended consequence locally, from the improvements in mass transit. Vancouver's elevated train system(Skytrain)and transit in general is becoming so popular, it's causing it's own cash flow problem.

The majority of B.C. Transit's funding comes from a tax on gasoline in the greater Vancouver area. More people are not owning cars because of the work hours efficiency of Skytrain. This is leading to a decrease in gas tax funding for the increased demand for Transit's services.

Also there is a burgeoning erosion of affordable houses and apartments at the Skytrain's various station locations. These buildings are being rapidly replaced by 20 - 30 floor condominium towers with an average starting price of $300,000.00 +/-, or $1400.00- $1700.00/mo. if rented, for a 1 bedroom suite.


Apr 26, 2013 - 02:25pm PT

Canada per capita wastes more than most countries in the industrialized world. They Drive more RV's, waste more water, planning to mega dam more rivers, have no meaningful protection (on the books) for land,water or old growth, no federal endangered spices act (ok in name only, when you consider it only covers 2% of the land in CA), minimal to no recourses for stoping illegal development -standard here is build the fines into the project cost since they are so low and ill enforced.

How does this go unnoticed...1)lack of any real journalist or at least they're numbers and skill are so low it's a none issue that anything will ever be brought to light, and 2)no enforcement whatsoever. Penalties here are nonexistent to laughable. I could site a ton of laws here, but wont because that's not the point. I think we can agree that the courts here are a little silly? I mean you gave the train terrorist dude full citizenship! (look it up it's scary!)

The point is, we shouldn't compair the US to Canada. Cause we all know the best country in N. America is the United Mexican States!

P.s.Oh yeah, and last time i checked your national anthem has GOD in it too!!! Guess you're happy trusting God and the Queen!


Apr 26, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
BC will be electing a provincial government that has stated firmly that no tar sand pipelines will be crossing our province to tidewater.

Those tar sand folks are now looking at shipping it via the Beaufort sea during the ice free months. Once that gets squashed and if Obama stands firm on Keystone, Alta is going to be in for some tough times.

Little by little Roadman, hopefully we can get governments to increase carbon taxes as well

Apr 26, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
Hope you're right Hoser.

Social climber
Apr 26, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
Hey Stevie, tough crowd here, huh?

It's a tough fight.

Tar Sands extraction up on the plateau north of Grand Junction is not an easy win. It's a big, empty area with a history of local extractive industry, coal and gas in one form or other.

The real fight, one easier to win, more worth fighting, that will have more support, will be closer to Canyonlands. White Canyon, just outside Natural Bridges National Monument:

And the Tar Sands Triangle, west of Canyonlands:

These areas are far more pristine. They're close to Canyonlands NP, Natural Brides NM. It's got less tar sand potential than the Uintah Basin areas. But it's on US Oil Sands' radar. They want to mine it.

Last year, their website listed these area. I see that this year it's not on their website. Maybe because they know it'll be a harder battle and they don't want to frighten people?

Apr 26, 2013 - 07:45pm PT
Utah and the western slope are in big trouble, but at least they aren't as messed up at this place......

Credit: roadman
Tar sands- unchecked
#1 world exporter of DDT
#1 world exporter of uranium
Exports 150,000 tons of asbestos:only country in G8
Canada was one of the first countries to sign the Kyoto protocol. It was also the first to formally withdraw from it.

Congratulations Canada! You export cancer...

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