Utah crude trains could be rolling through Glenwood Canyon after Forest Service denies objections to new rail line
The Uinta Basin Railroad would connect northeast Utah oil fields with the national rail network to transport 5 billion gallons of crude a year to Gulf Coast refineries
The Colorado Sun
It’s looking likely that heated train cars loaded with a waxy crude oil will be rolling through Colorado after the Forest Service last week rejected objections to the proposed new rail line in a section of roadless forest in Utah.
“We are going to continue to fight this terrible project with every tool available to us,” said Deeda Seed with the Center for Biological Diversity, which has spent years battling to stop the proposed Uinta Basin Railway, an 85-mile stretch of new railroad that would connect the oil fields of northeast Utah with the national rail network.
A consortium of environmental groups earlier this year filed objections to the Forest Service’s draft plan to allow the new railroad to traverse about 12 miles of roadless area, with new bridges and tunnels in the Ashley National Forest. Last week, the agency dismissed those objections, ruling that the yearslong Environmental Impact Statement conducted by the federal Surface Transportation Board, which approved the new railroad in December 2020, adequately addressed environmental concerns.
“In our view, the totality and essence of the reasonably foreseeable environmental effects were fully and clearly disclosed” in the environmental review, Deborah Oakeson, the Forest Service’s deputy regional forester, wrote on July 5 to attorneys representing the environmental groups.
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