Public scoping meetings concerning the proposed Uinta Basin Railway wrapped up last week, gathering input from multiple perspectives of the project. Starting on July 15th, the Surface Transportation Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis held 6 meetings
in 5 days
traveling 1100 miles, making stops in Fort Duchesne, Craig, Price, Roosevelt, Vernal, and
ending Friday
in downtown Salt Lake City. “There was a good mix of attendees at each of the meetings,” shares Tammy Champo, spokeswoman for the 7 County Infrastructure Coalition. “[There were] property owners that are watching closely the different alignments being considered but also local business owners and citizens…It was pretty equal across the board.” The Surface Transportation Board is preparing the Environmental Impact Statement for the Coalition’s rail proposal. They are also who will make final decisions on routes and the project as a whole, a job that Champo says will involve many months of biologists and experts studying impacts of each likely route. Each meeting received input from local businesses, both oilfield related and not, largely in support of the project. There were also property owners at the meetings, sharing their concerns and in many cases, opposition to the project. One example was Moreen Henderson who owns a cattle ranch in Pleasant Valley and who said she was speaking on behalf of the agricultural community. Moreen shared concerns of  impacts the noise and vibrations of a rail could have on pipelines and dairy operations in the area. She also expressed concern of what impacts a railway would have on their private land as well as how it will impact land values within the selected route. During an interview with KVEL last Monday, Champo explained that the Coalition is sensitive to the concerns of property owners and appreciative of their input. “We understand that this is personal and people’s homes and way of life,” shares Champo. “We are cognisant and empathetic and regardless of the route chosen, we will work with the property owners and it will be a fair and equitable process.” The Surface Transportation Board will continue to accept public input
through August 5th.
Link to the Surface Transportation Board’s website through

and make an official comment.