"We would consider this a win," Dubuc said Tuesday. "This is what we've been asking the division to do for some time."
The agreement doesn't end the debate, he said, but will delay it until better data are available.
A spokesman for the mining agency confirmed that Wednesday's hearing was canceled, though he had no further details. Dubuc said negotiations to cancel the meeting had continued through the end of the business day.
An attorney for Red Leaf Resources did not respond to requests for comment.
Utah had approved the company's permit on state land to dig up the waxy shale, place it back in a clay-lined mine cavity and heat it with natural gas until oil seeps from it. But Living Rivers, the same group that is waiting to hear an administrative law judge's ruling on its appeal of a Book Cliffs tar-sands mine, says the division did insufficient analysis of potential water pollution.
"We are concerned that hydrocarbons can leak through the earth ovens and pollute the groundwater there," said John Weisheit, Living Rivers conservation director. The company will heat the shale for months at a time, he said, with the potential to affect the clay liner's seal.
Dubuc said he had an expert witness lined up to testify that the system is "not technologically feasible."
There also is a dispute about how much groundwater may be in the area to contaminate if the clay were to fail.
In an April filing responding to the appeal, attorneys for Red Leaf said it was not the board's job to second-guess the division's technical assessment, and that "groundwater is isolated from mining and retorting operations by several hundred feet of low-permeability marlstones."