A film that takes a critical look at tar sands and oil shale mining will screen at Gonzaga University Thursday. The film “Last Rush for the Wild West” take a look at a project that the director says is the most critical environmental problem facing the US today. It is a proposed strip mine that would cover a million acres near the headwaters of the Colorado River in Utah.
Director Jennifer Ekstrom, who was formerly the Pend O'reille water-keeper, says the mining process will pose a direct threat to millions of people downstream.
Ekstrom: “We’ll have millions of acres of pulverized sand that has hydrocarbon and solvent residue in it , so storms will seep through and carry those chemicals and pollutants into the Green River and then into the Colorado River.”
Ekstrom says Inland Northwest residents may also be impacted by the proposal, as plans for shipping the oil are being studied.
Ekstrom: “It will either need to go by truck or by rail to ports to be exported, and were already seeing so many problems with these explosive oil trains coming through the northwest and it’s already an explosive oil that would be extracted.”
Much of the project still needs permitting from Utah officials.
The film, “Last Rush for the Wild West: Tar Sands, Oil Shale and the American Frontier” will be screened at Gonzaga University on Thursday beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Wolfe Auditorium at the Jepson Center. A Q-and-A session will follow the film.