An administrative law judge has affirmed Utah’s decision to OK a Book Cliffs tar sands mine without requiring a groundwater pollution permit.
The decision nearly concludes the state’s permitting for the nation’s first fuel-producing tar sands mine, leaving two state boards who were waiting on the judge’s recommendation to sign off. It likely sets up an environmental appeal to the Utah Court of Appeals, though.
The mine, on a Utah School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration lease, would produce up to 2,000 barrels of oil a day — small by the standards of a Canadian industry that strips oil from mined sands with water rather than chemicals. The Utah sands have properties making the fuel more difficult to extract.
The company hopes to produce oil by the fourth quarter of 2013, US Oil Sands CEO Cameron Todd said. First, though, it must raise more money to set up the mine. Salt Lake Tribune