Dozens upon dozens of Colorado cities and counties are opposed to a Utah-based railroad that would transport as many as 10 2-mile-long trains with oil through Denver every day.
Federal approval has been granted for the proposed 85-mile railroad, but opponents claim there is no clear picture of any environmental damage it could cause.The Denver PostReported on Saturday.
The railroad line would allow oil-drilling operations in Utah’s northeastern Uinta Basin, to transport what they produce to Texas and Louisiana refineries.
Although construction could begin next year for the line, Colorados Eagle County along with several conservation groups sued last week to require a deeper environmental review of the project. Numerous cities and counties also asked the U.S. senators for assistance.
Jonathan Godes, Glenwood Springs Mayor said to The Denver Post drilling for more fossil fuels was a bad move because the region is currently dealing with a megadrought that has set records for wildfires and other climate-related damage.
Godes said it could be devastating on a number levels.
Deeda Seed from the Center for Biological Diversity stated that the area’s current drilling operations produce approximately 80,000 barrels a type oil called waxy crude each day. Waxy crude must be heated to stay liquid.
The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition of Utah counties proposed the rail line in 2019. It was designed to assist companies with moving the waxy crude from the basin and expand drilling operations. If the project is successful, drilling companies could quadruple their production of waxy crude to 350,000 barrels per hour if it is approved.
Mike McKee is the executive director of Seven County Infrastructure Coalition. He disagreed with the assertions that officials do not fully understand the environmental risks. However, he declined comment.
He referred additional questions the Rio Grande Pacific Corporation to which he would refer any further questions. Representatives from that company did no return messages seeking comment.
McKee told Uintah Basin Standard, January, that the new line could generate more revenue and taxes than $100 million for the government, while creating jobs.
The project has been resisted by 42 Colorado cities, 11 counties, and 20 water sanitation districts. They have asked the U.S. Senators to reconsider. John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, and John Hickenlooper have offered their support to stop the project.
Glenwood Springs officials wrote to Bennet, citing a wildfire that occurred two years ago in Glenwood Canyon. This caused mudslides last year and forced the closure of Interstate 70.
The city officials stated that the risk of heating oil trains in such a sensitive area was too high.
Mayor of Glenwood Springs, Godes, also fears a Colorado River derailment.
Our gold-medal fishing streams, our rafting business, and our tourism for communities like Silt or Rifle, Grand Junction, Godes, are all gone. This is a fragile ecosystem that you should not be running a train through.