“It’s a perverse incentive to facilitate wolves killing livestock and for more wolves to be killed. The livestock industry, having failed with a big-money campaign to defeat [2020’s Proposition 114], has worked to subvert it through a wolf plan that includes the absence of a requirement for preventative measures.”
Twelve of the state’s 64 counties voted in favor of bringing wolves to the state. Only five of those are on the Western Slope, home of the proposed wolf-release sites and the lion’s share of ranchers, hunters and outfitters who spoke up at CPW meetings.
“When federal agencies are the on/off switches for climate impacts, air pollution impacts, surface impacts of wildlife habitat, they can’t say, as the [STB] did here, ‘Oh, no, not our problem. We don’t control who develops oil in the Uinta Basin. We don’t know where the oil is going. We’re just approving the railway,’” Zukoski said. “The court saw through that.”
In a February work session between the Garfield County BOCC and the New Castle Town Council, the town representatives expressed concerns about possible derailments due to an increase of oil trains and the speed at which trains roll through town.
“I think it’s communities like ours that are impacted by things like this because we’re just common people. We don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the government and the big oil companies, so they know they can just run it right over the top of us and there’s really nothing we can do.”
The UBR, approved by the Federal Surface Transportation Board in late 2021, would provide enough transportation capacity to quadruple oil production in the Uinta Basin at a time when scientists around the world are sounding an alarm over CO2 emissions.