Our county is in a place of power. We hold one of the keys that the tar-sands industry needs in order to unlock a huge reserve of highly polluting, unconventional oil. This speculative industry needs a way to get the low-grade tar from the mines on the Tavaputs Plateau to a refinery to be processed. They are currently trying two routes, one toward Salt Lake City, where terrible air quality is catalyzing a movement that will most likely stop refinery expansion in the valley. The other route is the Book Cliffs Highway. Now is the time to come together to stop this disastrous project from going through. If we allow a road to be paved from the mining area to I-70, it is likely that a refinery will be built in Green River, polluting our air and our river.

Tar sands are different than traditional oil and gas. They are more toxic, economically risky, involve mountaintop-removal strip-mining, and emit even more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional crude oil.

Opening the door to tar sands isn’t a continuation of the legacy of energy development that has past characterized Grand County. It would move us into an experimental realm of extreme energy extraction with extreme consequences. We can’t let this happen, and we won’t. This issue shouldn’t separate us along party lines. It’s us, people living on the front lines, versus out-of-town corporations that will do anything to increase their profit margins, even if that means destroying our home in the process.

Sarah Stock