Letter: Tell Polis to stop the oil train | VailDaily.com

Letter: Tell Polis to stop the oil train

Cathy Blaser’s recent letter described the tragedy of the latest Keystone Pipeline spill in Kansas where a break in the pipeline spilled heavy, dirty, oily crude into a water supply. Her description of that oil is correct —- it does not float, it sinks. This is the same oil that will be carried from the Uinta Basin in Utah alongside the Colorado River from our state’s border with Utah through Glenwood Canyon and on toward and beyond the Moffat Tunnel. 

The trains that are proposed to use the existing tracks will enable the shipment of up to 350,000 barrels of the heated, waxy crude oil a day on as many as 10 trains up to 10,000 feet. Should a train tip and spill into the Colorado, the heated oil will sink to the bottom and settle like paraffin. It cannot be removed — but then neither could a railroad car as heavy as these kinds would be. Such a derailment would foul drinking water and hydro-electric production downstream through Lakes Powell and Mead.

Eagle County was the only agency alert enough to file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals after the US Surface Transportation gave its approval. The suit forces a hearing, now joined with other municipalities and nonprofit groups in Western Colorado.

And who do you suppose wrote a letter supporting this venture? The State of Utah! They claimed that blocking the project would damage the economy in some areas. That’s strong support by any measure. But the true damage should a derailment occur will be every resident depending on clean water and energy downriver in Colorado and the western United States. Damage to all economies would be limitless.

And who has not written a brief or letter to this writer’s knowledge? The governor of Colorado. I like Jared Polis and I know he cares about western Colorado. But to date, there has been no report of any protest from that level of our state government.

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I urge everyone who is concerned about the health and safety of western Colorado to write Polis. Write to our U.S. senators. Tell them we desperately need their support. It is an uphill battle at best at this time, but with the force of the governor and our senators, perhaps our voices will be heard.

Carolyn Swanepoel

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