Let’s be leaders and not blind followers.

On Sept. 21, more than 400,000 people marched in NYC to demand climate justice. To demand that our leaders act now and forever to put an end to dirty energy and corporate greed and stop polluting our air and water. To start now acting responsibly and caringly for our planet. They are demanding new regulations and carbon taxes on dirty energy. 400,000 people.

It seems that those in power here in Utah still have their heads in the sand in thinking that they can strip mine the Book Cliffs for tar sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet, and not have a direct impact on our lives, our health, our water and air.

The feasibility study for the Book Cliffs Highway estimated that 500 to 1,500 vehicles a day would travel the Highway. I can guarantee that most of those vehicles are going to be oil tankers. What happens when the 500 to 1,500 trucks a day of dirty oil are being brought to Green River for refining? What kind of view will we have of Canyonlands or Arches when the air is so polluted that you will not even be able to see across our valley. Remember 2 weeks ago when the smoke from the California fires blew into our valley? This could be our air every day if we let them mine the tar sands.

It seems every day I read another story about the fracking industry and how it destroys water sheds and creates earth quakes. The only reason we have an Arches National Park is because we are in a relatively nonexistent earthquake zone. What happens if we allow fracking and waste water injection wells near Arches? It would only take a couple of good earthquakes to remove a few hundred arches and then who would come to see the arches that used to be there?

Is Grand County going to be lured into giving up our clean air and water for false promises of big money? Does Grand County want money in exchange for the health of its citizens. Uintah County’s infant mortality rate spiked to six times the national average in 2013 and a group of physicians wonders whether the basin’s declining air quality, largely attributed to the oil and gas boom, is playing a role in the baby deaths. Is this what we want for Grand County? Money or healthy babies, you choose.

It is obviously clear that the Seven County Coalition is all about getting the dirty oil off the Book Cliffs and to market. What happens when they have built their road and the rest of the nation demands that we not mine the tar sands and stop fracking for gas and shell oil? Who will pay then? Us, that’s who.

Please let the Grand County Council know that you stand with the 400,000 and would rather have your health than have the vague promise of big money. Personally I’d rather be poor and healthy than rich & sick.