Welcome to the project website for the Uinta Basin Railway Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (Coalition) plans to file a request with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) for authority to construct and operate an approximately 80-mile common-carrier rail line connecting two termini in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench, Utah, and Leland Bench, Utah, to the national rail network. The construction and operation of this proposed project has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts. Therefore, the Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) has determined that the preparation of an EIS is appropriate pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
- The scoping public comment period is now closed. Click here to learn more about the scoping process.
- Information from the July 2019 public scoping meetings is available to review. Click here to view.
- OEA issued a Notice of Intent and Draft Scope of Study for the EIS in the Federal Register, initiating the scoping process, on June 19, 2019. To see the Notice of Intent and Draft Scope of Study, click here.
- If you wish to be added to the project mailing list, click here.
The Surface Transportation Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition’s (Coalition) proposed 80-mile rail line connecting two termini in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench, Utah and Leland Bench, Utah to the national rail network. The Coalition has evaluated potential routes connecting the Uinta Basin to the national rail network and has identified three alternative routes that would be both technically and commercially feasible. Those proposed alternatives are the Indian Canyon Route, the Craig Route, and the Wells Draw Route, as described in further detail below:
- The Indian Canyon Route would be approximately 80 miles long and would connect an existing rail line owned by Union Pacific Railway Company (UP) near Kyune, Utah to a terminus point in the Uinta Basin near Leland Bench, Utah, approximately 9.5 miles south of Fort Duchesne, Utah. Starting at Leland Bench, this route would proceed westward, past the South Myton Bench area, until intersecting Indian Canyon approximately 2 miles south of Duchesne, Utah. After entering Indian Canyon, the route would turn southwest and follow Indian Creek upstream toward its headwaters below Indian Creek Pass, paralleling U.S. Highway 191 for approximately 21 miles. The Indian Canyon Route would use a summit tunnel to pass through the West Tavaputs Plateau and, after emerging from the tunnel, would descend the Roan Cliffs to reach Emma Park, an open grassy area at the base of the Roan Cliffs. The route would then run westward through Emma Park and connect to the UP Provo Subdivision near the railroad timetable station at Kyune. The route would cross land owned or managed by the State of Utah, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Ute Indian Tribe. At this time, the Coalition has identified the Indian Canyon Route as its preferred alternative.
- The Craig Route would be approximately 185 miles long and would connect an existing UP rail line near Axial, Colorado, to two terminus points in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench (approximately 3.5 miles southwest of Myton, Utah) and Leland Bench, Utah. The lines from those two terminus points would meet at a junction approximately 4 miles north of Leland Bench. From the junction, the Craig Route would proceed generally northward for approximately 7 miles, then turn and proceed generally eastward, crossing the Green River approximately 5 miles south of Jensen, Utah. The route would then proceed southeasterly, entering Colorado approximately 3 miles northwest of Dinosaur, Colorado, and would connect to the Deseret Power Railroad (DPR) south of Dinosaur. The Craig Route would utilize approximately 13 miles of the DPR to proceed eastward and would depart the DPR approximately 2 miles west of the Deserado Mine. It would then proceed generally eastward to connect to the UP Craig Subdivision near the railroad timetable station at Axial. This route would cross land owned or managed by the BLM, the State of Colorado, and the State of Utah. It would not cross USFS or tribal land.
- The Wells Draw Route would be approximately 105 miles long and would connect an existing UP rail line near Kyune, Utah, to two terminus points in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench and Leland Bench, Utah. The lines from those two terminus points would meet at a junction approximately 6.5 miles south of South Myton Bench. From the junction, the Wells Draw Route would run southward, generally following Wells Draw toward its headwaters. After reaching the headwaters of Wells Draw, the route would turn westward and enter Argyle Canyon. It would remain on the north wall of Argyle Canyon for approximately 25 miles, eventually reaching the floor of the canyon near the headwaters of Argyle Creek. The route would then enter a summit tunnel through the West Tavaputs Plateau and, after emerging from the tunnel, would descend the Roan Cliffs to reach Emma Park. The route would run westward through Emma Park and connect to the UP Provo Subdivision near the railroad timetable station at Kyune. The Wells Draw Route would cross land owned or managed by the BLM and the State of Utah. It would not cross USFS or tribal land.
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process is intended to assist the Surface Transportation Board (Board) and the public in identifying and assessing the potential environmental consequences of a proposed action before a decision on the proposed action is made. The Board's Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) is responsible for ensuring that the Board complies with NEPA and related environmental statutes. The first stage of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process is scoping, which began when OEA issued its June 19, 2019 Notice of Intent in the Federal Register. Scoping is an open process for determining the range of actions, alternatives and potential environmental impacts or issues to be addressed in an EIS. As part of its scoping process, OEA also published a Draft Scope of Study for the EIS with the Notice of Intent for public review and comment. Additionally, OEA is consulting with federal, state and local agencies and held six scoping meetings in the project area to provide further opportunities for public involvement and input during the scoping process. The scoping public comment period is now closed. There will be additional opportunities for public review when OEA publishes the Draft EIS.
For more information on the public scoping meetings see the Public Involvement page.
OEA hosted six scoping meetings to provide the public with information on the proposed project and the environmental review process and to solicit comments on the Draft Scope of Study. The public scoping meetings were held at the following times and locations:
Monday, July 15
3 pm – 5 pm
Ute Tribal Auditorium
6964 East 1000 South
Fort Duchesne, UT
Tuesday, July 16
5 pm – 7 pm
The Pavilion at Moffat County Fairgrounds
640 E. Victory Way
Wednesday, July 17
5 pm – 7 pm
Carbon County Event Center
450 S. Fairgrounds Road
Thursday, July 18
11 am – 1 pm
Grace Event Center
1024 W. Highway 40
Thursday, July 18
5 pm – 7 pm
Uintah Conference Center
313 East 200 South
Friday, July 19
10 am – 12 pm
Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown
215 W S Temple
Salt Lake City, UT
The first thirty minutes of each meeting was an open house format, followed by a brief presentation. After the presentation, interested parties were provided an opportunity for public comment at an open microphone for the balance of the two-hour scoping meeting. A court reporter transcribed the public comments and comment forms were available. Meeting materials included display boards (link) and proposed alternative maps (link).
The scoping public comment period is now closed. OEA accepted public comments from June 19, 2019 through September 3, 2019. There will be additional opportunities for public review when the Draft EIS is published. Click here to contact OEA.
Please contact the Environmental Impact Statement project manager if you have any questions about the Surface Transportation Board’s environmental review process at:
For further information, you may also call the OEA’s toll-free number for the project at 855-826-7596.
You can also contact ICF, OEA’s third-party contractor, at the email address below and ICF will direct your message to OEA. ICF is an environmental consulting firm that is assisting OEA in preparing environmental documentation. ICF is solely managed and directed by OEA, consistent with NEPA regulations.
Project email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to be added to the project mailing list for additional updates and information, click here.
DOCUMENTS & LINKS
- Notice of Intent to Prepare EIS, Draft Scope of Study, Scoping Meetings, and Request for Comments
- Scoping Comment Period Extension