Why President Biden must stop the Uinta Basin Railway and phase out fossil fuels

President Biden’s visit to Utah has been highly publicized and anticipated. Deeda Seed, our partner on the Stop the Polluting Port Coalition, wrote an excellent op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune about a major concern for Utah that has been overlooked by the administration – the Uinta Basin Railway.

“If built, the railway will increase oil production by up to 350,000 barrels every day. That’s nearly twice as much as the massive Willow project in Alaska (shame on you for approving that, by the way).

The federal Surface Transportation Board estimates that the oil extraction facilitated by the railway could spew an additional 50 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. That would cause more than $2.5 billion in global damages annually, according to your administration’s conservative social cost metric,” Seed writes. 

She also addresses the use of water required and how it will affect us during the Wests’ megadrought, as well as the increase in forest fire risk created by the railway. 

“Every day the railway would send up to five two-mile-long trains hauling crude oil across Colorado’s drought-stricken, wildfire-prone Western Slope, tracing the Colorado River almost to its headwaters. A derailment has the potential to catastrophically contaminate the primary water source for more than 40 million people in Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles and across the West.”

Find the full op-ed here.