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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

Heated tanker cars roll west through Glenwood Springs on June 24, 2022. Some Uinta Basin way crude is currently trucked to railheads near Price, Utah, and shipped to Gulf Coast refineries in heated cars, but if the Uinta Basin Railway is approved, the number of heated oil trains passing through Glenwood Springs would increase to between three and 10 per day. Amy Hadden Marsh/Aspen Journalism

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. 

Read the full story via The Colorado Sun.



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