Friday, May 18, 2012

Groundwater at issue in Utah tar sands project

State regulators testified Wednesday that the first U.S. commercial oil sands operation won't pollute groundwater because the proposed strip mine is in an arid region of eastern Utah with no groundwater except at extreme depths.

That conclusion by regulators came under attack by the Moab-based environmental group Living Rivers, which is disputing Utah's approval for a water pollution permit in a trial-like hearing being conducted by an administrative law judge.

Regulators said the project site is isolated from nearby springs and seeps, and that test drills hit no groundwater until a depth of 1,800 feet under a pit that U.S. Oil Sands Inc. plans to dig this summer. Bloomberg Businessweek