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Uinta Basin Railway Environmental Impact Statement
August 06, 2019
by John Weisheit
PART TWO: DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (DEIS)
- On October 30, 2020, the Board issued the Draft EIS for public review and comment.
- Comment period was EXTENDED to January 28, 2021
- The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (Coalition) has filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) requesting authority to construct and operate an approximately 85-mile common-carrier rail line connecting two termini in Utah's Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench and Leland Bench to the national rail network. The construction and operation of this proposed project has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts. Therefore, the Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) has determined that the preparation of an EIS is appropriate pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Comments are due December 14, 2020 (extended to January 28, 2021)
PART ONE: SCOPING
Home Page for the public to visit and participate in this process
All incoming documents (FD_36284_0) submitted to the Surface Transportation Board
All outgoing documents (FD_36284_0) submitted to the Surface Transportion Board
- The Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) has extended the scoping public comment period. Electronic and written comments must be received and/or postmarked by September 3, 2019.
- Please contact the Environmental Impact Statement project manager if you have any questions about the Surface Transportation Board’s environmental review process at:
- Joshua Wayland
Surface Transportation Board
c/o 9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Attention: Environmental filing, Docket No. FD 36284
- For further information, you may also call the OEA’s toll-free number for the project at 855-826-7596.
- You can also contact ICF, OEA’s third-party contractor, at the email address below and ICF will direct your message to OEA. ICF is an environmental consulting firm that is assisting OEA in preparing environmental documentation. ICF is solely managed and directed by OEA, consistent with NEPA regulations.
- Project email address: email@example.com
The Surface Transportation Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition’s (Coalition) proposed 80-mile rail line connecting two termini in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench, Utah and Leland Bench, Utah to the national rail network. The Coalition has evaluated potential routes connecting the Uinta Basin to the national rail network and has identified three alternative routes that would be both technically and commercially feasible. Those proposed alternatives are the Indian Canyon Route, the Craig Route, and the Wells Draw Route, as described in further detail below:
- The Indian Canyon Route would be approximately 80 miles long and would connect an existing rail line owned by Union Pacific Railway Company (UP) near Kyune, Utah to a terminus point in the Uinta Basin near Leland Bench, Utah, approximately 9.5 miles south of Fort Duchesne, Utah. Starting at Leland Bench, this route would proceed westward, past the South Myton Bench area, until intersecting Indian Canyon approximately 2 miles south of Duchesne, Utah. After entering Indian Canyon, the route would turn southwest and follow Indian Creek upstream toward its headwaters below Indian Creek Pass, paralleling U.S. Highway 191 for approximately 21 miles. The Indian Canyon Route would use a summit tunnel to pass through the West Tavaputs Plateau and, after emerging from the tunnel, would descend the Roan Cliffs to reach Emma Park, an open grassy area at the base of the Roan Cliffs. The route would then run westward through Emma Park and connect to the UP Provo Subdivision near the railroad timetable station at Kyune. The route would cross land owned or managed by the State of Utah, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Ute Indian Tribe. At this time, the Coalition has identified the Indian Canyon Route as its preferred alternative.
- The Craig Route would be approximately 185 miles long and would connect an existing UP rail line near Axial, Colorado, to two terminus points in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench (approximately 3.5 miles southwest of Myton, Utah) and Leland Bench, Utah. The lines from those two terminus points would meet at a junction approximately 4 miles north of Leland Bench. From the junction, the Craig Route would proceed generally northward for approximately 7 miles, then turn and proceed generally eastward, crossing the Green River approximately 5 miles south of Jensen, Utah. The route would then proceed southeasterly, entering Colorado approximately 3 miles northwest of Dinosaur, Colorado, and would connect to the Deseret Power Railroad (DPR) south of Dinosaur. The Craig Route would utilize approximately 13 miles of the DPR to proceed eastward and would depart the DPR approximately 2 miles west of the Deserado Mine. It would then proceed generally eastward to connect to the UP Craig Subdivision near the railroad timetable station at Axial. This route would cross land owned or managed by the BLM, the State of Colorado, and the State of Utah. It would not cross USFS or tribal land.
- The Wells Draw Route would be approximately 105 miles long and would connect an existing UP rail line near Kyune, Utah, to two terminus points in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench and Leland Bench, Utah. The lines from those two terminus points would meet at a junction approximately 6.5 miles south of South Myton Bench. From the junction, the Wells Draw Route would run southward, generally following Wells Draw toward its headwaters. After reaching the headwaters of Wells Draw, the route would turn westward and enter Argyle Canyon. It would remain on the north wall of Argyle Canyon for approximately 25 miles, eventually reaching the floor of the canyon near the headwaters of Argyle Creek. The route would then enter a summit tunnel through the West Tavaputs Plateau and, after emerging from the tunnel, would descend the Roan Cliffs to reach Emma Park. The route would run westward through Emma Park and connect to the UP Provo Subdivision near the railroad timetable station at Kyune. The Wells Draw Route would cross land owned or managed by the BLM and the State of Utah. It would not cross USFS or tribal land.
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