"Debate Stirred Over 1st Major US Tar Sands Mine"

"SALT LAKE CITY – Beneath the lush, green hills of eastern Utah's Uinta Basin, where elk, bear and bison outnumber people, the soil is saturated with a sticky tar that may soon provide a new domestic source of petroleum for the United States. It would be a first-of-its kind project in the country that some fear could be a slippery slope toward widespread wilderness destruction.

With crude prices surging beyond $100 a barrel, and politicians preaching the need to reduce America's reliance on foreign supplies, companies are now looking for more local sources. One Canadian firm says it's found it in the tar sands of Utah's Book Cliffs.

Alberta-based Earth Energy Resources Inc. aims to start with a roughly 62-acre mine here to produce bitumen, a tar-like form of petroleum, from oil-soaked sands. For decades, other Utah operators have used oil sands as a poor-man's asphalt, and Canada has been wringing oil from the ground for years, but nobody has yet tried to produce petroleum from U.S. soil on such a scale."

Chi-Chi Zhang reports for the Associated Press April 10, 2011.

Monday, April 11, 2011