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Eesti Energia Responds to Anti-Oil Shale Demonstration in Utah

In what may be a first, Estonia was a target of a demonstration by environmentalists and concerned residents in the western US over the weekend. The state power company Eesti Energia says it is all a misunderstanding.

Around 1,000 protesters, some carrying placards emblazoned with Estonia's national colors or the word "Estonian oil" in strikethrough type, rallied at Utah's state capitol on January 25 for clean air and water along the Wasatch mountain range.

Among of the targets of a coalition of environmental and civic groups was Eesti Energia, whose Enefit American Oil subsidiary is planning to develop oil shale reserves in Uintah County.

Eesti Energia issued a statement in which it said that it is being lumped in inaccurately with shale and tar sands developers.

"As the US has no oil shale industry as yet, oil shale is all too often confused with tar sands or fracking, whose environmental impact can be greater due to ground water pollution," a spokesperson was quoted by Delfi as saying on January 26.

The company said polls indicated 59 percent support statewide and 81 percent support among residents in Uintah County.

The project is in a predevelopment phase and environmental impact assessments are under way. The spokesperson says the company has water rights in the Green River basin.

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