Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00451-0074
Received: 1/27/2021 12:00:00 AM
Commenter: Bruce MacBryde
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
I urge you to choose the EIS no-action alternative for the proposed Uinta Basin Railway. The proposed railway would do irreparable harm to the region's air, water, land, and wildlife - it should not be built. This draft Environmental Impact Statement fails at what it's supposed to do: assess the harm this 'oil railway' could have on the environment, wildlife, and nearby communities. The new production resulting from the railway expansion - potentially four times the current amount - would contribute significantly to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Our climate is already at a tipping point; we need to sharply reduce fossil fuel use from here and everywhere, instead of expanding it. This summer I had to evacuate from two Colorado wildfires -- exacerbated by global warming. The railway's emissions would further pollute the air in the Uinta Basin in Utah, which already exceeds federal standards because of existing oil and gas development! Traversing roadless areas, steep canyons and rugged terrain, the railway would degrade more than 10,000 acres of habitat for migratory wildlife and would harm important habitat needed by the rare greater sage grouse and the Endangered Barnaby ridge-cress. The preferred project route would run almost the entire length of Utah's Indian Canyon Creek, crossing and degrading more than 400 streams and important wetlands along the Price River - harming the semi-arid state's precious perennial waterways. In Colorado, the project could mean reopening a rail line through scenic Tennessee Pass, despoiling scenic lands and wildlife habitat to get oil trains to the Gulf Coast. Mile-long oil trains could rip through sensitive areas like Browns Canyon, a rugged 22,000-acre National Monument designated to protect one of the wildest stretches of the Arkansas River. These values are important. The Uinta Basin Railway would harm people who live and recreate in both states. Landowners in Utah's Argyle Canyon and nearby off-grid canyon communities fear the disruptive noise, traffic delays, and clouds of diesel smoke oil trains would bring along the proposed routes - plus the significant potential for accidents, derailments, spills, and sparks that could ignite disastrous wildfires. That's real. People in Colorado won't escape the air pollution drifting downwind from the Uinta Basin, even as the railway rips through a National Monument and other scenic areas supporting outdoors tourism many locals rely on for their livelihoods. This project is thus an unacceptable threat to the health, safety, and well-being of wildlife and rare wild plants, humans, and the warming planet. Please analyze carefully and thoroughly, and choose the no-action alternative.