Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00373 -- Oral Comment at Public Meeting 

Received: 12/1/2020 12:00:00 AM
Commenter: Stanley Holmes

Agency: STB
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
Submission Text
Thank you.· My name is Stanley Holmes.· I live in Salt Lake City.· And I appreciate the opportunity to comment.

In my opinion, the Uinta Basin Railway represents yet another huge subsidy for the fossil fuel industry, specifically oil and gas, but from government agencies that should be using public monies to advance the public's long-term interests in rural communities.

Unfortunately, the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition in concert with the Utah Community Impact Fund Board or CIB have been -- [audio distortion] in this regard preferring to continue propping up the fossil fuel industry with Mineral Lease Act monies meant to mitigate impacts of fossil fuel extraction, witness the $53 million CIB authorized funds for an Oakland, California coal port developer, and the $20 million advanced payment offered by SCIC commissioners to bail out that coal port developer from bankruptcy.

The proposed railway would require increased oil and gas drilling, production and pollution
in the Uinta Basin.· Uinta Basin human residents and wildlife are already affected by episodic high ozone levels due to oil and gas operations.· Even without the added pollution that the UBR would facilitate, the Uinta Basin has, on the other hand, ozone non attainment
status by the EPA.

Utah State University issues ozone alert warnings for the Uinta Basin.· As the DEIS points out,the Uinta Basin accounts for more than 90 percent of Utah's criteria pollutant emissions from the oil and gas sector.· This is a problem year round, although the
ozone levels increase in the winter due to climatic conditions.· In addition to ozone, Basin activities spew carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.

The EPA warrants that exposure to ozone is linked to a wide range of health effects including aggravated asthma, increased emergency room visits, hospital admissions and premature death.

In addition to helping form ozone, volatile organic compound emissions from the oil and gas industry include toxic air pollutants such as benzene, ethyl benzene and hexane.· These air toxics are pollutants known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects.· The DEIS notes that the eastern portion of the proposed rail line would be located in the Uinta Basin ozone non attainment area, but that much of the remainder of the proposed rail line would be in attainment areas.· This blindered focus ignores the pollution increases in and beyond the non attainment areas that would likely occur due to increased fossil fuel production made possible, rather, required by the railroad's construction.· Intensity of pollution can be expected to increase in the current non attainment area.· And the borders of the non attainment area may have to be expanded due to increased pollution.

The oil and gas industry is a significant source of the emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide.


Okay, thank you.· At pre-Covid levels, the Uinta Basin extraction industry was producing over 1,000 metric tons of methane annually.

Let me wrap up.· The DEIS failed to give consideration to the No-Action Alternative.· All that we see is that under the No-Action Alternative, the Board would not license the Coalition to construct and operate the proposed rail line.· The Coalition would not support the rail line and the human environment would not change from the current conditions. Complicit here is --


Thank you.· No action, please.


You're very welcome.