STATEMENT: U.S. Forest Service cancels permit for Uinta rail project

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DENVER – The U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday withdrew a previously granted permit for 12 miles of train tracks through a roadless area in the Ashley National Forest. That land administered by the Forest Service was intended to be part of a longer proposed railway called the Uinta Basin Railway.

The Uinta Basin Railway would have blasted through mountains, rerouted 443 streams, bulldozed through endangered sage grouse habitat, appropriated private property and fragmented a roadless area in the Ashley National Forest. The goal of the railway was to make it easier to transport crude oil from the Uinta Basin in Utah through Colorado.


In response, Environment Colorado Public Lands Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:

“This is great news for the wildlife in Ashley National Forest and people who live along the Colorado River. By now we know that where there are trains, there are train derailments. We’ve learned from accidents in places such as East Palestine, Ohio, that toxic substances spilling from derailed trains can devastate the environment.

“The proposed Uinta railway would have divided wildlife habitats and transported crude oil that posed a threat to everything in its path. We called on the Forest Service to reject this proposal and it made the right call.

“Now, it’s time for the state of Colorado to devise its own solution. We already have one good option: State Rep. Javier Mabrey and state Sens. Lisa Cutter and Tony Exum have introduced the Railroad Safety Requirements bill (HB24-1030). We urge legislators to support this important measure.”