Malo: A train wreck waiting to happen
It’s hard to believe even the most calloused oil industrialist would ever dream of transporting extremely viscous, heated oil up the Union Pacific Railroad along the I-70 corridor next to the Colorado and Eagle rivers, across some of Colorado’s most environmentally sensitive areas.
Yet that is exactly what the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition in Utah is planning to do. They want to build an 88-mile railroad from the oil fields in Myton, Utah, in the Uinta Basin to Kyune, Utah, on the Union Pacific line. From there, the oil tanker rail cars will cross Colorado and down to the refineries in Louisiana and Texas at the rate of 350,000 barrels per day.
The new rail line in Utah was approved by the Forest Service and the Surface Transportation Board. The environmental impact assessment they did was for the new line in Utah only. The impacts upstream weren’t considered.
Eagle County has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the Forest Service ruling. Amicus briefs have been filed by Routt, Boulder, Chaffee, Lake, and Pitkin counties and the municipalities of Glenwood Springs, Avon, Minturn, and Vail.
Conspicuously missing are Garfield and Mesa counties and Grand Junction. The Garfield County commissioners are known for spending millions on a lawsuit that benefits the oil and gas industry. One wonders why they wouldn’t get behind one that protects the local environment.
In addition to the supporting the lawsuit, we encourage you to contact President Joe Biden, Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The Forest Service is under the Department of Agriculture.
On Dec. 10, 350 Roaring Fork is leading a protest in front of the Forest Service building on Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs. Join us.
Fred Malo Jr.