UINTAH COUNTY, UTAH – August 11, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – Four protesters of a total of around 30 attempting to occupy land leased to U.S. Oil Sands in Uintah County on Monday were arrested, according to police.
The subjects taken to Uintah County Jail were Amber Hayward, Tazeus Steyskal, Jay Brooks, and Sean Summers. Each was booked for one count of Trespassing on Trust Lands, a class A misdemeanor, the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office said. The environmental activists were in the the area of PR Springs in the Book Cliffs on behalf of Peaceful Uprising, an environmental advocacy group.
Uintah County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement it was was required to deploy deputies, yesterday shortly before 7 a.m. “Up to thirty environmental protesters had begun to occupy land leased to a Canadian energy firm by the State School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration,” said the statement. “The property involved is clearly marked ‘no trespassing.’
“Some of the protesters had positioned themselves atop steel tripods in the roadway. Their positioning ignored the signage, interfering with access to and from the property.
“Those gathered were asked to disperse and given ample opportunity to leave the property, however chose not to do so. Heavy equipment was utilized to remove a female from her tripod, after which another person chose to attach himself to the heavy equipment.
“He was eventually removed, and both subjects were arrested. During that operation, one subject repeatedly entered onto the restricted property to bring items to and speak with the female on the tripod, despite being asked and warned not to.”
Police said that individual was arrested. A second protester was then removed from atop his tripod and arrested.
Corporal Troy Slaugh from Uintah County Sheriff’s Office continued in the statement that it “respects the rights of people to peaceably assemble. We seek to protect the rights of citizens to do so safely, regardless to what their cause may be. We value our role of preserving the peace, protecting life and preventing the destruction of property. Protecting the rights of private individuals and entities and their ability to manage and maintain their property is consistent with our mission.
“Peaceful protests respect the rights of others with as much reverence as their own. Unfortunately in this case, some chose to express their beliefs in a way that interfered with others being able to go to work and earn a living, and they trespassed on a private entity’s property, essentially forcing our hand.
“We appreciate the assistance we received in this matter from the Utah DWR, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, and the Utah Attorney General’s Office.”
Peaceful Uprising posted updates about the protest throughout the day on its website. The group said it believes tar sands and oil shale mining as well as oil and gas fracking open a new era of looming mining-related environmental disasters in the Upper Colorado River Basin.
“Thousands of mines like open wounds tell the story of a century of exploitation, destruction and violence– against the people of this land and the land and water themselves,” said Melanie Martin of Peaceful Uprising, in a statement. “US Oil Sands continues that sick tradition by squandering precious water in a thirsty region and saddling future generations with a toxic legacy there is no way to clean up.”