Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00375 -- Oral Comment at Public Meeting 

Received: 12/1/2020 12:00:00 AM
Commenter: Brian Moench
Organization: Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment

Agency: STB
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
Submission Text
Can you hear me?


I'm Dr. Brian Moench, president of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.· In 2012 and 2013, during the peak of the oil and gas activity in the Uinta Basin, the University
of Colorado measured atmospheric VOCs over the Basin. They found shocking levels of VOCs 200 to 300 times higher than background levels.· They equated it to the
pollution of 100 million cars, eight times more cars than are registered in the greater Los Angeles area.

Other studies have shown this pollution comes almost entirely from the oil and gas industry. An area that has only 30,000 residents is inhaling eight times more pollution than an area where 13 million people live.

The authors of the study say, in fact, these levels were 10 to 100 times higher than what is
reported in the nation's largest cities.· They also found peaks of ozone up to 150 parts per billion, double the EPA's limit.

As a precursor to ozone, the Uinta Basin VOCs contribute to ozone hundreds or even thousands of miles away.· The authors said their observations were, "Among the highest ever reported in ambient air.· The aromatic compounds reach or exceed those recorded from the most heavily polluted inner cities.· This is a remarkable finding." The very purpose of this railroad is to quadruple the oil and gas production in the Basin that has already seen 11,000 wells put into production, and that would quadruple what is already a pollution nightmare.· Wherever you have a pollution nightmare, you will have a public health nightmare if you wait long enough or look hard enough.

While the environmental impact statement is only focused on the construction and operation of the railway itself, it is nonsensical that it not also include as a direct consequence the environmental and health consequences of the very purpose of the project. The cumulative impact of the proposed project would allow a public health disaster that will extend both east and west of the Basin into Colorado and the Wasatch Front.

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment request that you deny the project.· Thank you.