Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00250 

Received: 12/22/2020 8:49:05 AM
Commenter: Art Taylor
Organization: 
State: 

Agency: STB
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
Attachments:
UBR-DEIS-00250-53770.pdf Size = 7700 KB
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Submission Text
See attached.


ATTACHMENT


Joshua Wayland
Surface Transportation Board
%1CF
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Attention: Environmental filing, Docket No. FD 36284

Dear Mr. Wayland, 

We own about 1/10 of the proposed Right of Way for the railroad through Indian Canyon including the double track passing lane.

We so appreciate the work you are doing on the Draft EIS.

If any alternative but the No Action Alternative is chosen, we would like to have you address the policing and enforcement of the EIS and the penalty for non-compliance. Policing and enforcement, along with penalty for non-compliance, is mandatory throughout the whole process.

Also restoration and mitigation in case the system fails needs to be mentioned. In case
of failure, the rights of way should return to the original owners and not to the Coalition.
Another statement I want to address is "There are no Conservation Easement lands in this alternative." This is untrue. The Coalition knew that the Craig Colorado Alternative was eliminated in part because there were "several wildlife conservation easements alon9'the Craig corridor." They had to know there was a conservation easement on our property when they checked the deeds at the Duchesne County Recorder's Office.

In 2001, there was a lot of controversy when it was advertised three times in the Uintah Basin Standard that the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) were selling the land with the conservation easement by putting it up for bid. We were the successful bidders. It was well known then and still is because the property is only a mile from Duchesne City.

There are signs on Highway 191 and CR #25 reminding people of the Wildlife Study Area. Indian Canyon is so important for wildlife because Indian Creek is the only water available for miles during most of the year.
 
The easement is a sanctuary for wildlife not only for sportsmen but for photography and family recreation. One activity on the easement is the gathering of sheds each year. The horned wildlife shed their horns in early winter, with new horn growth in early spring. Also, there is always hunting for Indian artifacts. The whole area is former Ute Indian Territory, until August of 1905.

One half of the easement is unfenced and we are audited each year to make sure we are in compliance with the easement standards.

The proposed train route enters the easement in the southeast section and travels west through the middle of the easement. The railway is not in compliance with the conservation easement -- period!

My education was in construction engineering with a specialty as a construction foreman. I have real concerns as I studied the route and design of this proposed railroad, especially the loaded downgrade side of Argyle and entering the Whitmore Park area.

Close to 90 % of the loss of a loaded train is on the downhill grade. With the maxed-out down hill grade and then the double-S curve (I call it the Spaghetti Bowl) the risk is too great for an accident and the loss of life, equipment, and the pollution of a 100 car trainload of oil, all in the beautiful Whitmore Park area. A spill that large would be practically impossible to clean up and dispose of, with all the sagebrush, shadscale, grass and weeds, and soil. It can't be burned or buried, but will have to be scooped up and hauled away, but where?

Remember the Indian Canyon area is all above 6000 ft elevation, so it is all very mountainous. The mountains are not solid terrain, but fractured and broken. Even the sheer cliffs are fractured shale.

In the EIS, states that the Whitmore Park Alternative was chosen to avoid impact on sage grouse, but that is the area where there are sage grouse!

I plead with you to deny this alternative or any other except the No Action Alternative. In so doing, you will resolve the problem of the taking of private property, policing, restoring, penalizing, and all the extra environmental problems.

During the public comment meetings, there were many comments about how the economy of the Uintah Basin would be enhanced by the railroad. Comments were also made how that Price, Utah, our next-door-neighbors over the hill have had all kinds of railroads for over a century, yet the Carbon County area has struggled for years since the coal industry has been almost brought to a complete standstill. Many of the people in Duchesne have gone to Price to do their shopping in an effort to help our neighbors there.

We hope that this process does not drag on. We want to see it resolved and a final decision made, so-we can have it behind us and go on with our lives without fear of losing the use of our Indian Canyon Property.

Again I thank you so much--1have--listened tot he public hearings (and debates.) Your workers have done such a wonderful job.

I am well acquainted with this area and its history. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call me at--{435) 738-5640, or by email through my daughter at bartbar@ubtanet.com.

Sincerely,

Art Taylor

[See original attachment for a letter from the State of Utah Department of Natural Resources, including a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Conservation Easement Monitoring Inspection Form and Photo Record.]