Canadian company’s tar sands mine approved in Utah

A coalition of groups led by Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising speak during a news conference outside the Department of Natural Resources Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Residents and groups opposed to Utah's first tar sands mine are calling on state regulators to withhold approvals for the project because new evidence shows water in the area will be negatively impacted. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A coalition of groups led by Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising speak during a news conference outside the Department of Natural Resources Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — State officials are approving a tar sands mine in eastern Utah, but will require the company to do water and air quality monitoring.

Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining director John Baza said Monday the decision addresses concerns raised by opposition while acknowledging that U.S. Oil Sands, the Canadian company building the mine, has complied with regulations.

Environmentalists who have been fighting the project called the decision a victory. At a recent public hearing organized by Baza, they presented evidence from a university professor showing water in the Book Cliffs area will be negatively impacted.

U.S. Oil Sands officials weren’t immediately available for comment Monday. They said at the recent hearing that there no measurable quantities of water in the area and that the mine will have minimal effect.

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