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GREEN RIVER — A coalition of Colorado River Basin advocates released the following statements after the Utah State Engineer granted its request for reconsideration on a water rights application for Utah’s first major lithium mine on the Green River.

The coalition filed the request days after the State Engineer issued its May 1st approval of a water rights application for Blackstone Minerals. The decision followed months of protest from Green River residents, water rights owners, and public interest advocates. The May 1st decision would have set a detrimental precedent for lithium brine water extraction in the imperiled Colorado River Basin, allowing Blackstone minerals to drill up to 10,000 feet deep through high-pressure geologic formations and jeopardizing existing water rights.

The water rights application from Blackstone Minerals, which is a subsidiary of foreign-owned Anson Resources, requests appropriating 14,000 annual acre feet of non-consumptive uses within an area that the State of Utah classifies as an Area of Concern. The project, in the heart of the Colorado River Basin, would drill through radioactive aquifers contaminated by a now-ceased uranium milling operation.

The project, in addition to drilling through a Department of Energy Legacy Management site, raises questions about non-consumptive proposals, groundwater-surface water connectivity, high-pressure geology, impacts to senior water rights, and public welfare protection. The current state of Utah water statutes did not foresee these types of applications.

“We welcome this opportunity to have the record reviewed, assessed, and scrutinized,” said Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network. “The region’s legacy of blowouts, radioactive pollution, and aridity warrant reconsideration to prevent environmental degradation and uphold the public welfare. This isn’t over. But it is the end of the beginning.”

“We must ensure that Blackstone Minerals isn’t tinkering with a ticking time bomb in the paradox formation,” said John Weisheit, conservation director of Living Rivers-Colorado Riverkeeper. “We will take this opportunity to consider our next steps to ensure the protection of the Green River, Colorado River Basin, and all living things that depend on these vital waterways.”

“Our community deserves a review that considers all the inherent dangers with this proposed project that could sit on the banks of the Green River,” said Gayna Salinas, a Green River resident with property and water rights that neighbor Anson’s proposal. “We are not opposed to lithium mines. We are worried about the location and nature of this project.”

On May 21st, the coalition hired legal counsel from Clyde Snow to draft and submit its request for reconsideration. The request submitted by the coalition highlights that the State Engineer did not consider fundamental elements of Utah water law when granting the application on May 1. The coalition will now await further instruction from the State Engineer to continue scrutinizing the proposal.

CONTACT: Kyle Roerink

Executive Director

Great Basin Water Network


John Weisheit

Conservation Director

Living Rivers





Contact: Kyle Roerink

Great Basin Water Network



John Weisheit

Living Rivers-Colorado Riverkeeper



Gayna Salinas

Resident, Green River


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