Submission Number: UBR-DEIS-00412 -- Oral Comment at Public Meeting 

Received: 12/3/2020 12:00:00 AM
Commenter: Steve Evans

Agency: STB
Initiative: Uinta Basin Railway EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
Submission Text
Hi, my name is Steve Evans. I have owned and operated radio stations in the Uinta Basin for over 25 years.· I have also served on many community service organizations, including president of the Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce.

These experiences have provided me the opportunity to consult with numerous local retail
businesses owners about the economic challenges that they face.· The Uinta Basin is the most -- one of the most challenged -- is the most challenging place to do business in the State of Utah.· This is due to the cyclical nature of the extraction industry, which is the primary source of local jobs here.· Although we have huge amounts of energy resources under our feet, producers are limited due to the inability to transport product to market.· Additionally, they are limited to selling the product to just the North Salt Lake refineries to monopolize prizes by placing big discounts of Uinta Basin goods.· Proposed railways will not influence the market price of oil.· However, it will put crude exported from the Uinta Basin in a competitive market environment and help stabilize the industry.· The Uinta railway would allow producers the ability to transport to a national and international markets, thereby allowing the free capital system to work by creating a competitive bid for energy produced in the Uinta Basin.

It should be noted here that Utah's population is expected to double by the year 2050.
Communities along the Wasatch Front, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo are already struggling with unprecedented growth this past decade.· There simply is not enough room along the Wasatch Front to meet the projected demand.· The Uinta Basin however, has an able workforce with room to grow.

The Uinta Basin would provide a means to expand and diversify our local economy by creating jobs and through mineral lease monies and other taxes, a means to build a local infrastructure to meet the forecasted state growth.· With the ability to transport goods and services via rail, our economic development offices would then be able to market this growth toward the Uinta Basin where we would have the workforce, transportation and affordable land.

With the stable economy comes more stable families.· With this last phase of energy layoff, hundreds of families from throughout the Uinta Basin have been separated from the family's primary bread-winner and have been forced to leave home to work a 10-on and 10-off shift in another energy producing state.· Local crime statistics conclude, when there is a down turn in the local economy, crimes involving substance abuse, domestic violence, juvenile truancy increases.
Uinta railway, in my opinion, will help mitigate those social problems by creating economic diversity and the development of local jobs.· Thank you for your consideration.· Those are my comments.