Rural Utah has its own unique struggles when it comes to economic development. There are parts of Utah that are still having loss to net population and slow to negative economic growth. Daggett County has the state’s smallest county and has had a very large drop in county revenue. The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (U-STAR) is striving to take the ideas of science and technology to have a positive impact tax revenue, employment and corporate retention throughout the state of Utah. This includes bringing technologies and companies to aid new economic growth opportunities in rural Utah. USTAR supports the Vernal based company Dragon Shale. Dragon Shale creates high-value petrochemicals from oil shale, minimizing energy use and reduced environmental impact during the extraction process. “Our technology enables small scale low capital cost and low risk projects,” said O.J. Schneider, co-founder of Dragon Shale. “These projects enable the resource owner rather than a third party to be able to license, build, and own the production capability to process their own resource, keeping the greatest value in the local economy.” By supporting businesses that have unique technologies and sciences, USTAR hopes that they can aid in creating jobs in the rural parts of the state, including the Uintah Basin.
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