At a meeting in Vernal, Utah’s Community Impact Fund Board approved $21.4 million in public money to build a Uinta Basin Railway intended to send fossil fuel from Utah to refineries and export ports on the Gulf Coast.
A Utah Clean Infrastructure Coalition has formed from environmental groups that oppose using taxpayer money to prop up the fossil fuel industry. A letter sent to the Board on June 12, 2019 says that Coalition member organizations are “deeply concerned about the misuse of CIB funds for the benefit of private parties at the expense of local communities that need these funds for schools, roads, social services, utilities, local planning, and other public services.”
The letter also expresses concerns about environmental consequences and industrial pollution associated with increased fossil fuel extraction and transport on public lands.
Under state law, the Community Impact Fund is supposed to be used to mitigate negative impacts of boom-and-bust mineral development which causes social problems as well as environmental damage.