Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00451-0112
Received: 1/27/2021 12:00:00 AM
Commenter: Alan Robinson
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
I urge you to choose the no-action alternative for the proposed Uinta Basin Railway. My comments will focus on the potential for impacts to Colorado and the Arkansas River Valley, but it is obvious that not approving the Uinta Basin proposal is key to avoiding the whole issue of impacts in Colorado. In Colorado, the project could mean reopening a rail line through scenic Tennessee Pass, and more than 100 miles adjacent to the Arkansas River through multiple rural counties. The direct environmental impacts of accidental train cargo entering the river could be disastrous, and the secondary impacts on the economy of those counties which are heavily dependent on river recreation would be huge. A busy reactivated RR would effectively interrupt and delay connectivity from the center of the valley both east and west into extremely popular and heavily used public lands. Estimated visitation to the valley and those public lands was 4 million in 2020 expected to double by 2026. Reactivation of the TPL with any type of freight transported in slow long trains would have severe negative consequences on traffic patterns up and down the valley. Dozens of grade crossing would have to be upgraded and even when upgraded would cause serious potentially severe delays in access of children to school, citizens to medical and food services and, extremely important, emergency access by wild fire and medical vehicles to thousands of homes and hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands. The public does not have a reliable answer to the question whether or not Uinta Basin heavy shale-derived oil would be the primary product to be transported. It seems obvious that the Tennessee Pass Line would have to be used for this purpose to make economic sense, yet the Colorado Midland Pacific and Rio Grande Pacific companies have denied this is their intention. Until this future plan is honestly portrayed I cannot muster any support for the upstream Uinta Basin RR.