The nation's first fuel-producing tar sands mine, planned for the wild Book Cliffs in eastern Utah, has gotten a final go-ahead from state regulators.
The Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining released its decision Friday to allow Alberta-based U.S. Oil Sands to move forward with the first stage of its mine on 213 acres in the arid high country between Vernal and Moab.
"This is not unexpected," said Cameron Todd, company CEO. "We've been working long and hard on this and dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's."
He added that the project will be a "strong example of environmental performance" and praised the "strong leadership" of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and other decision-makers.