Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00572
Received: 2/5/2021 12:13:00 PM
Commenter: John and Monica Spehler
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
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Feb. 1, 2021
Surface Transportation Board
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Attention: Environmental filing Docket No. FD 36284
Dear Mr. Wayland:
As Utah taxpayers, Duchesne County landowners, and members of the Argyle Wilderness Preservation Alliance, we are STRONGLY OPPOSED to the construction of the Uinta Basin Railway Project. After reading the-pages and pages of potential environmental impacts spelled out in the EIS, we believe the "no-action alternative" is the only alternative to this expensive and destructive railway project. Mr. Wayland, your own words were, "The Draft EIS concludes significant impacts on the environment."
It is time to transition away from boom-and-bust fossil fuel economies, NOT pour more taxpayer money into this Uinta Basin Railway project. Large amounts of methane emissions is a major contribution to global warming and local climate change. Pollution in the Uinta Basin due to oil and gas extraction is already at dangerous levels. The oil companies' plan to quadruple production in the region will have disastrous effects on public health and safety.
As a taxpayer, I am dismayed at the $27.9 million dollars in public funds which have already been dedicated to this railway project. The estimated $1.2 BILLION is far too high a price to pay. Back in 2014, extensive UDOT studies concluded that the routes through Indian Canyon and Argyle Canyon were too steep of a grade, too rugged, and far too expensive to build. Now the oil companies are telling the Coalition the railway can be built across this same fragile terrain with only a third of the previously estimated costs. Yet they have not provided to the public any engineering documents to substantiate their claims. The cost overruns on this project are going to be enormous!
As your Draft EIS fails to point out, this proposed railway will destroy the property values of hundreds of landowners like ourselves. Even if the trains do not run directly across our land, all of us will experience the noise, air and groundwater pollution, wildlife disruption and risk of catastrophic wildfires.
BUILD THIS RAILWAY SOMEWHERE ELSE, or better yet, don't build it at all.
John & Monica Spehler (Argyle Canyon Lobo lot 7)