Surface Transport Board approves Uinta Basin . oil rail proposal


The 85-mile rail line will connect stations at South Myton Bench and Leland Bench with the national rail network at Kyune.

(Brian Maffly | Tribune file photo) The jacking of a hydrocarbon suction pump in the Three Rivers oil field in southwestern Vernal, near Lake Pelican and the Green River, taken on June 14, 2019. The Surface Transportation Commission approved the construction of an 85-mile oil and gas railroad by December 15, 2021.

The Surface Transportation Commission gave final approval to the construction of an 85-mile rail line through the Uinta Basin on Wednesday.

The approval for the railway was first sought by Seven County Infrastructure Alliance in May 2020, according to a news release. Union, consisting of seven counties in eastern Utah, proposes railroad connecting state oil to the national rail network.

The chain is expected to be worth $1.4 billion and it will be funded and operated by private companies. Rio Grande Pacific Corp. will operate the line and Ute Indian Tribe is expected to become an equity partner, according to a Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, was released in November.

The Railroads will degrade up to 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat in northeast Utah, potentially disrupting migration corridors and destroying wetlands, according to that draft EIS.

Council approved the railroad’s Whitmore Park Alternative, a route drawn to avoid federal and residential sage grouse habitat. According to the railway’s final EIS, despite the plan to add 7 miles of track, the line affects the fewest number of residents and mainly passes through private land, affecting mainly owners Large real estate owners and ranchers.

(Screenshot from Surface Transportation Board Decision) Map of proposed alternative routes for the new rail line approved by the Surface Transportation Board.

Governor Spencer Cox said in a tweet that the railroad would “serve the economic interests of people and businesses” in the state for years to come.

In August, the commission’s Office of Environmental Analysis – in partnership with tribes and agencies from the federal, state and local levels – recommended Whitmore Park as a priority route for the rail line, according to the report. news.

The board’s decision took effect on January 14, 2022, and is subject to additional environmental mitigation recommendations. Surface Transport Board approves Uinta Basin . oil rail proposal

Yasmin Harisha

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