Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00302 -- Oral Comment at Public Meeting
Received: 11/19/2020 12:00:00 PM
Commenter: Darrell Fordham
Organization: Argyle Wilderness Preservation Alliance
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
Okay. Care you hear me?
Okay.· This is Darrell Fordham. · · · · ·I just wanted to make a few comments about how this project came about, at least from the public perspective, from the perspective of those who are concerned about this railway. · · · · ·
Very, very little information has been shared with the public with regard to what is the financial feasibility of this project?· At what price per barrel of oil is this project feasible?· And we also find it hard to believe that the projected cost for this project is now somewhere between 1.2 to $1.4 billion when all the previous studies in the past that followed a similar route were upwards of $5 billion. · · · · ·
I think a lot of the public, especially out in the Uinta Basin -- you know, I totally understand that you feel like this is -- this is the solution to all of your economic woes out there, and I'm sympathetic to that.· But there's a lot of numbers and a lot of information that's been deliberately withheld from the public. · · · · ·
I have submitted numerous government records access requests, which are returned with all of that pertinent information redacted from them.· You know, we have no way to verify any of the construction estimates and cost estimates because the Coalition refuses to provide any of the information that they relied on to make those assumptions and those estimates. · · · · ·
In addition, you know, there's communities all over the state of Utah that have rail.· Just think about Price and Wellington as one example.· Delta would be another example of a rural community that's connected by rail, and there are not numerous industries beating down the doors to move into those communities simply because they have rail service available.· So the notion that this rail project is going to bring in all this new industry and all these new jobs and everything that are not strictly oil related is a fallacy that's being propagated by the Coalition and the other supporters of this project.· It's not reality. · · · · ·
The fact is that there are no plans at this point, at least no plans that the public has been made privy to, for a transloading facility out in the basin connected to this railway that will handle anything other than crude oil and extraction-related products.· · · · ·
So, you know, you can build this rail, and you can think that Walmart is going to ship all your goods in on it and that the lumber yards are going to use it and all of that, but do you really think that these companies are going to invest millions of their own dollars to build their own transload facilities to be able to utilize this railway?· Where are the plans for those facilities?· And if there aren't any plans for those facilities, that's a huge red flag.
You know, there's been tons of misinformation and lies thrown about regarding this project to garner public support.· Taking trucks off the road is one of them. · · · · ·Like the previous commenter said, it's not going to remove trucks from Highway 40.· They're going to continue to roll.· And the potential is that this railway will quadruple oil production in the basin.· So you may take a few trucks off of Highway 191, but you're going to
increase exponentially the number of trucks on the local roads and highways out in the basin.· It's going to contribute to pollution, it's going to contribute to traffic safety issues.· Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.· Thank you.
Thank you.· Just to follow up on my previous comments and respond to Mr. Stengel. · · · · ·You know, perhaps part of the problem of why there aren't more businesses out in the basin is because these basin residence label people like me as "outsiders," just like Mr. Stengel did, which I found very inappropriate. · · · · ·The fact is I spend almost as much time in uchesne County as I do in my home county of Utah County. So to say that I'm an outsider and that my opinion doesn't matter is highly offensive and flat out wrong. · · · · ·
You know, one of my biggest concerns is just all the secrecy surrounding this project.· From Day 1, the Coalition has tried to hide the project from us landowners that were going to be affected by it.· They are extremely rude to us when we attend their meetings, when we ask for information, when we asked questions. · · · · ·
They didn't involve any of us who were going to be directly affected by this railway at any point in the planning process for our input, for our feedback.· You know, we could have been partners in this planning, and sure, maybe it couldn't have avoided our community completely, but at least we would have had a seat at the table and had an opportunity to give our input and feedback instead of just being run over the top of.· And that's categorically wrong the way that we've been treated and the way that this project's been handled from the beginning.· · · · ·
You know, the fact is that I probably pay more taxes in Duchesne County than many, probably the majority of the permanent residents in the county actually pay. And for my taxes, I get virtually no services.· So you know, me and the hundreds of other landowners in that area are just handing over thousands of dollars in tax money to Duchesne County every year as a gift, basically. We get nothing in return, except, you know, rude and
snide comments like we received here today which I feel like is in very poor taste and is very unfortunate.