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Chipmunks Shut Down Utah Tar Sands

An activist wearing a full-face chipmunk mask and gogges, gives a double thumbs up sign in front of a construction vehicle, against a background of a blue sky with a few clouds.

A “chipmunk” from Utah Tar Sands Resistance gives the thumbs-up in front of a construction vehicle at Utah’s Book Cliffs, the first domestic tar sands mine, September 23, 2014.

Activists dressed as chipmunks shut down construction at the first US tar sands mine on September 23. It was the latest in a series of actions by Utah Tar Sands Resistance targeting the 213 acre Book Cliffs tar sands mine.

A video released by the group shows chipmunks spreading rapidly through through the camp site where they block construction equipment with their bodies. Though the finale of the video playfully describes the chipmunks fates as “poisoned by tar sands waste water,” activists actually shut down construction for part of a day, resulting in five arrests. There have been 27 total arrests since the beginning of the campaign to halt construction.

Music: “Unscorch The Earth” by Sole and DJ Pain 1

A bellweather project

Anti-tar sands activists in Utah believe that if construction at Book Cliffs is allowed to continue, it will result in more tar sands extraction in the state and elsewhere in the country.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and