January 30, 2008

A Sign From Dia: Proposed Oil Drilling Near the Spiral Jetty?

An urgent email has gone out with a call to action. It seems that Pearl Montana Exploration and Production, LTD, submitted a drilling application for an area called West Rozel in the Great Salt Lake. This was picked up by the Friends of the Great Salt Lake, and they contacted Nancy Holt. I received her forwarded email:
> Dear Friends,
> Yesterday I received an urgent email from Lynn DeFreitas, Director of Friends
> of the Great Salt Lake, telling me of plans for drilling oil in the Salt Lake
> near Spiral Jetty. See Attachments. The deadline for protest is tomorrow,
> Wednesday, at 5PM. Of course, DIA has been informed and are meeting about it
> today.
> I have been told by Lynn that the oil wells will not be above the water, but
> that means some kind of industrial complex of pipes and pumps beneath the
> water and on the shore. The operation would require roads for oil tank
> trucks, cranes, pumps etc. which produce noise and will severely alter the
> wild, natural place...
The issue at hand is that the proposed drilling site is withing eyeshot of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. Alook at the drilling application shows that the staging area will be Little Valley Harbor, about 50 miles away by my best guess. One can't be seen from the other.

I remember from my visit to the Spiral Jetty years ago. An abandoned mobile home--all shot up, an old half-buried pick up truck, and the remnants of a wooden oil exploration jetty that dotted the landscape. The rusted equipment brought to mind Smithson's Tour of the Monuments of Passaic and the pier Entropy and The New Monuments. I'm sure Smithson viewed that same dilapidated jetty next to his that was under construction. I expect thoughts of entropy danced through his mind too. Thirty years later (after my visit) I've read that Dia has removed the debris, too impatient for its eventual decay.

For those who are opposed to all oil drilling on principle, that's another story. Living among the oil rigs of Long Beach, I'm willing to accept the anti-aesthetic, for the benefit of oil that hasn't been shipped from the other side of the planet.

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1 comment:

  1. Michael, I couldn't agree more. In fact, I reblogged your post here.

    It will be interesting to see what comes to light, if anything, in this matter.



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