By Cameron Monson / Deep Green Resistance

When I first read Andrew Nikiforuk’s book Tar Sands, I was deeply disturbed. The gluttonous use of water and natural gas, the destruction of mature boreal forests, the high rates of rare cancers, the sickening reduction in air quality, the malformations of local fish populations, the loss of farmlands, and more—a list of damages so glaring that the project stood out as exemplary of this culture’s insanity. At the time though, the Tar Sands existed there, in Alberta, not here, in the US.

Now that has changed. In January, the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining voted in favor of U.S. Oil Sands moving forward with a Tar Sands test-site in Uintah County of eastern Utah. Other companies stand close behind, waiting to tear into hundreds of thousands of acres of land for the heavy oil that rests beneath.

If these extraction projects are realized, much of Utah wildlife will come under assault. A snapshot of some of the creatures that call the high-elevation lands of the test-site home include sage grouse, antelope, mule deer, black bear, cougar, California myotis, and faded pygmy rattlesnake. Their fate at this time looks unpromising. Tar Sands extraction leaves only “one potential fate for this land—scorched, foul, dusty, hot and dead.” [1]

Beyond the horrific material effects, the Utah Tar Sands is the crux of a transformation in the larger Tar Sands struggle, a transformation from importation to importation and domestic production of tar sands fuels. If the Keystone XL Pipeline is the Tar Sands’ frontal attack, the Utah Tar Sands is its Trojan horse—from which numerous domestic projects will spring off.

Imagine the message it would send to investors if they saw the first US Tar Sands mine opposed in full force. Imagine the momentum it would give us if through our actions this first mine was stopped. The success or failure of this project will set the stage for future Tar Sands mines in the US. Now is the time to mobilize.

Fortunately, there are many people and groups already committed to fighting the Utah Tar Sands. Several actions have taken place already, and an action camp is planned for late July. We can help their efforts by offering either our physical support in person or our material support from afar. So much is already in place that has the capacity to stop the Utah Tar Sands that it would be a shame if finances were the limiting factor.

That is why I am asking if you can donate to Deep Green Resistance to help fund our summer of action:

Several DGR groups—including Deep Green Resistance Colorado Plateau, Deep Green Resistance Colorado, DGR Mojave, and Deep Green Resistance Great Basin are converging in Utah this summer to add their voices and their strength to the existing struggles. Deep Green Resistance is also working to help bring Lakota warriors to Utah, warriors who have been at the forefront of resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline. This is a crucial way in which we can connect the Tar Sands resistance movements and show indigenous solidarity.

Tar Sands extraction in the US can and will be stopped. I have already made my donation, and I hope you will too.




A good friend recently visited the Tar Sand test-site. Read his detailed account: Utah – The Next Energy Colony