DENVER — Dozens of Colorado counties and cities are opposing a Utah-based railroad venture that will convey as many as 10 two-mile-long (3.2-kilometer-long) trains carrying oil via Denver every day.
The proposed 85-mile (137-kilometer) railroad line has federal approval however opponents say there isn’t any clear image of the environmental injury it would trigger, The Denver Post reported on Saturday.
The railroad line would permit oil drilling operations in Utah’s northeastern Uinta Basin to ship what they produce to refineries in Texas and Louisiana.
Work on the road may start subsequent yr, however Colorado’s Eagle County and a number of other conservation teams sued final month to require a deeper environmental investigation of the venture. Several cities and counties have additionally requested Colorado’s U.S. senators to intervene.
Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes instructed The Denver Post that drilling for extra fossil fuels is the flawed transfer because the area offers with a megadrought, record-setting wildfires and different local weather change injury.
“It’s potentially catastrophic on a number of levels,” Godes mentioned.
Existing drilling operations within the space extract about 80,000 barrels of a sort of oil known as waxy crude day by day, Deeda Seed with the Center for Biological Diversity mentioned. Waxy crude solidifies at room temperature and should be heated to stay liquid.
A bunch of Utah counties, known as the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition, proposed the rail line in 2019 to assist corporations transfer the waxy crude out of the basin and to broaden drilling operations. If the venture advances, drilling corporations may quadruple manufacturing as much as 350,000 barrels of waxy crude a day.
Mike McKee, govt director of the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition, disagreed with claims that officers don’t absolutely perceive the environmental dangers however in any other case declined to remark.
He referred extra inquiries to the Rio Grande Pacific Corporation, which might run the rail line. Representatives for that firm didn’t return messages searching for remark.
McKee instructed the Uintah Basin Standard in January that the brand new line may generate greater than $100 million in authorities income and taxes whereas additionally creating jobs.
Forty-two Colorado cities, 11 counties and 20 water sanitation districts have expressed opposition to the venture, asking U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper to assist cease the work.
The letter from Glenwood Springs officers to Bennet cited a wildfire two years in the past that broken Glenwood Canyon, inflicting mudslides and particles flows final yr that pressured the closure of Interstate 70.
“The risk of introducing heated oil trains to such a sensitive area is simply too great,” the town officers wrote.
Godes, the Glenwood Springs mayor, additionally fears the chance of derailment within the Colorado River.
“There goes our gold medal fishing streams, there goes our rafting industry, there goes our tourism and tourism for communities like Silt, Rifle, Grand Junction,” Godes mentioned. “This is a very fragile ecosystem to be running a dangerous train through.”