Division Links

PR Springs Tar Sands


Update October 25, 2012

The Water Quality Board, in a 9-2 vote, agreed with the recommendations of an administrative law judge (ALJ) regarding a permit-by-rule issued by the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) for an open pit tar sands mine on state land in eastern Utah. The judge found, and the Board concurred, that the DWQ division director did not wrongly interpret or apply the administrative rules in determining that the PR Spring facility could operate under a permit-by-rule, since operations would have a de minimis (minimal) actual or potential impact on ground water in the project area. Read more …

Update October 2, 2012

The Water Quality Board will meet Oct. 24 to decide whether to uphold the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) opinion on the issuance of a permit to U.S. Oil Sands for its PR Spring Mine in the Uintah Basin. The public is invited to attend the meeting, but public comment and testimony will not be received by the Board. The Board will only hear oral argument from the parties to the proceeding. The Board’s deliberations will be limited to the administrative record of the proceeding, the ALJ’s proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, order, and oral argument by the parties. The Board will determine whether to approve the ALJ’s recommended order; approve the recommended order with modification; or disapprove the recommended order. The Bard may also choose to return the matter to the ALJ for further action.

In late August, an administrative law judge issued an order upholding Water Quality staff’s approval of issuing a permit to U.S. Oil Sands due to substantial evidence in the administrative record that no shallow ground water exists in the project area. Further, the judge ruled that even if ground water did exist, the project would pose a minimal risk to the quality of that ground water.

The meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DEQ’s Board Room, 1015.


DEQ provided a live Webcast and Internet feed of the administrative hearing held on Wednesday and Thursday, May 16-17, in the Multi-Agency State Office Building. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held an evidentiary hearing on the Division of Water Quality’s preliminary approval of a groundwater discharge permit issued to US Oil Sands Inc. for its PR Springs Tar Sands Project.

ALJ hearings are typically not public meetings, and are held only for the involved parties, their attorneys, and witnesses. However, due to public interest, DEQ chose to Webcast the proceedings live.

Here are the evidentiary hearing documents from the May 16-17 hearing:

100—Executive Secretary

200—Living Rivers


Initial Agency Record Index—2012 01 10

Transcripts of Recorded Testimony


  • 01 (753 KB)
  • 02 (770 KB)
  • 03 (142 KB)
  • 04 (749 KB)
  • 05 (4.7 MB)
  • 06 (205 KB)
  • 07 (37 KB)
  • 08 (584 KB)
  • 09 (129 KB)
  • 10 (37 KB)
  • 11 (51 KB)
  • 12 (33 KB)
  • 13 (98 KB)
  • 14 (30 KB)
  • 15 (971 KB)
  • 16 (30 KB)
  • 17 (38 KB)
  • 18 (90 KB)
  • 19 (134 KB)
  • 20 (651 KB)

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