The Path Is Clearing For The First US Oil Sands Project

Alberta Oil Sand MineAlberta’s oil sands.

Photo: Robert Johnson — Business Insider

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An administrative law judge is defending a Utah state agency’s decision to issue a permit for a tar sands project — the first of its kind in the U.S.Judge Sandra Allen is turning back a challenge from the Moab-based environmental group Living Rivers in a decision issued Wednesday.

Allen found Living Rivers couldn’t prove the project would pollute any groundwater.

Her recommendation goes to the Utah Water Quality Board for a formal ruling.

U.S. Oil Sands Inc. says it will dig a 62-acre pit in Utah’s Uinta basin that could yield 4 million barrels of crude over about six years.

Executives hope to start producing oil next year. The Calgary, Alberta-based company holds leases on 50 square miles of state trust lands in eastern Utah.

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