Open Houses Set for Public to Review, Comment on Utility Corridor DEIS for Enefit’s Utah Project
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host three open houses in Vernal, Rangely and Salt Lake City to allow the public an opportunity to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a utility corridor needed to serve Enefit American Oil (EAO)’s Utah oil shale project. The DEIS document will be printed in the Federal Register on Friday, April 8, and can be viewed on the BLM’s project web page at go.usa.gov/csa9j once it is published.
The meetings will be held at:

Uintah County Library, 204 E. 100 North, Vernal, Utah, on Tuesday, May 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.;
Western Rio Blanco Recreation and Park District, 611 S. Stanolind Avenue, Rangely, Colorado, on Wednesday, May 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and
Hilton Garden Inn, 4975 Wiley Post Way, Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday, May 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Utilities Corridor

The majority of EAO’s proposed project activities are located on private land (including mining, retorting, and upgrading operations). However, EAO requires a right-of-way from the BLM for a utility corridor across federal land. This corridor will house overhead electric transmission lines, buried water and natural gas supply pipelines, a buried product delivery pipeline, and improvement of an existing, unpaved county road.

EAO applied for a right-of-way grant from the BLM in November 2012, and the release of the DEIS represents an important milestone in the company’s project development. The BLM’s DEIS describes potential impacts to the human and natural environment associated with the utility corridor.

Attend the Meetings, Send in Comments of Support

  Supporters of Enefit’s Utah Project are encouraged to attend one of the public meetings to express support. You may also send comments to the BLM at UT_Vernal_Comments@blm.gov no later than June 7, 2016. The DEIS document can be viewed at go.usa.gov/csa9j.

To be most effective, comments in support of the BLM’s “Proposed Action” – granting of a right-of-way across federal land – should be as specific as possible and demonstrate how the corridor complies with or complements existing local, state and federal plans and policies. Here are some reasons why we believe the Proposed Action should be approved and the “No Action” alternative should not be selected:

The Proposed Action will minimize large truck traffic on local roads by providing important connections to regional utilities, which in turn will prevent harmful tailpipe emissions and reduce the potential for severe transportation-related accidents in our community;
The Proposed Action will reduce fugitive dust and improve visibility and safety by paving a section of county road that is currently gravel;
The Proposed Action will not be harmful to wildlife or natural areas thanks to Enefit’s commitment to responsible management and restoration of the right-of-way;
The Proposed Action avoids and minimizes impacts to sensitive resources thanks to Enefit’s efforts in engineering a “minimal footprint” corridor, such that the environmental quality of these federal lands will continue to have value for present and future generations; and
The Proposed Action meets the BLM’s responsibility of multiple use and sustained yield of federal lands under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, providing an important economic return on the use of those lands.
Reasons why Enefit believes the BLM should not select the No Action alternative:
The No Action alternative would result in significant increases in large truck traffic for transport of Enefit’s products, increasing harmful tailpipe emissions and transportation safety hazards in our community;
The No Action alternative has the potential to further “strand” valuable natural resources, in a market where they are already considered stranded, with no measureable benefit to the public or local community; and
The No Action alternative is not consistent with the BLM’s land use management responsibilities and objectives and would generate no return to federal government through responsible use of federal lands.
  In addition, supporters may want to reference that the majority of the world’s oil shale reserves are in our backyard, how Enefit has worked proactively and positively with the community, why it is important to create sustainable jobs for people in the Uintah Basin, and how the project is consistent with specific economic development and land use plans, such as the BLM’s Vernal Resource Management Plan, the Federal Land Use Policy and Management Act, the State of Utah Governor’s energy policy, the Penstemon Conservation Agreement, and the Uintah County General Plan.

Enefit American Oil is uniquely qualified to contribute to Utah’s energy security and create long-term jobs that will help our community grow and keep families closer together. With a 30-year track record of producing liquid fuels in an environmentally responsible and economically viable manner, Enefit’s vision is consistent with our community goals and long-range planning efforts. Enefit staff have shown their commitment to environmental stewardship and desire to work together with our community to develop this project in the most responsible manner possible.
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