Tell the BLM: Labyrinth Canyon Is No Place for Potash and Lithium Development!

Dec 8th, 2023 Written by Landon Newell

A Canadian company curiously named “American Potash” is trying its best to put a lump of coal in our stocking this holiday season. They’ve submitted a proposal to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to construct four new well pads and drill four wells to explore for potash and lithium on the east side of the Green River in the iconic Labyrinth Canyon area. Three of the wells are on public lands proposed for wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

Make no mistake: these test wells are the first step toward industrial development that the company hopes will culminate in staggeringly large evaporation ponds and industrial infrastructure in this spectacular area.

Please take action and tell the BLM: Labyrinth Canyon is no place for potash and lithium development!

Industrial development, including new evaporation ponds like these existing ones near Moab, could be coming to the Labyrinth Canyon area.

Less than three months ago, the BLM took much-needed steps to protect the rugged, quiet, and stunningly scenic Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicle damage. But this misguided proposal—in that very same landscape—would undo that progress and likely lead to new development, permanently scarring this remarkable landscape.

The company’s proposed exploratory drilling alone will consume millions of gallons of Colorado River water. The BLM’s draft environmental assessment for the project states that drilling each well will consume 2.9 to 3.7 million gallons of water. As the climate crisis continues to tighten its grip on southeastern Utah, we can’t afford to literally pour this water down the drain.

The large-scale mineral development the company ultimately hopes to see would likely consume hundreds of millions of gallons per year of Colorado River water. A similar, active potash mine—the Intrepid Potash mine near Moab—uses 350 million gallons per year of river water according to the BLM.

The BLM is accepting public comments on this water-intensive proposal through Monday, December 18th—please take action today! Labyrinth Canyon is no place for industrial development and the over-stressed Colorado River simply cannot support new mining.