“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.