Book Cliffs Highway Application Submission of 2020 and all other previous applicationsJuly 13, 2020
The proposed highway section in Grand County would begin at its northern boundary at the top of the Book Cliffs (elevation is generally 8,000 feet). The highway section in Uintah County is alread paved and ends at its southern boundary. Before pavement, it was known as Seep Ridge Road. This lonely highway is already in need of repairs due to subsidence in the roadbase.
This paved highway (driving south) begins at the Green River Bridge near Ouray, Utah. The lateral roads go to existing oil and gas fields (mostly natural gas). However, demonstration sites that propose to strip mine oil shale (hard rock kerogen) and tar sands deposits are directly adjacent to this paved highway. These demonstration sites of unconventional fuels are not operational for several reasons, which include poor return on investment and lack of water for production.
For a good return on investment, it is necessary to develop hundreds-of-thousands of acres, but the quantity of water supplies to develop this unconventional oil resource at this level are not cheaply available. The water managers of the Colorado River Basin are currently managing a serious water shortage situation and hydropower production inefficiencies due to low reservoir levels. This water scarcity condition has two explanations:
(1) Maximum water consumption in the Colorado River Basin was achieved in Year 2003 (USBR Graphic).
(2) The consequence of global greenhouse gas loading in the atmosphere, for the arid lands of Western USA, has served to increase water demand due to increasing evaporation (heat).
Fossil fuel production in Uintah and Duschene County is not managed properly at the level of investor financing. The goal is to exploit the resource as quickly as possible to guarantee a return on investment. The drive is not about demand for the resource, but rather for investor demand.
The resource reserves will be gone very soon and we already know the reclamation of the extraction sites will not happen at the same pace as the production did. It is already an embarrassing spectacle to visit and in the near future it will be a tragic wasteland, rather than a functioning and productive ecosystem.
The proponents of this highway insist that the highway will become a an attraction for tourism. It is absurd to think the visiting public would want to visit a wasteland of extreme fossil fuel activities. Indeed, this highway is about expanding this industrial hydrocarbon wasteland and this activity will not incentivize the tourist dollar.
The lack of decent stewardship in the management of these Public lands is incomprehensible and the current policies that encourage short-term gains for long-term consequences must be abandoned immediately.
MOST RECENT APPLICATION OF JUNE, 2020
- Right-of-Way application for Eastern Utah Road Connection, Preliminary Plan of Development (February 2019)
- Biological Resources Reconnasaince Survey (July, 2018)
- 2018, December - EURC Meeting with BLM
- BLM Response of Application Insufficiency (App submitted March, 2019)
- Grand County discussion of application (09/01/2020)
- Map of Proposed Route (Modified East Canyon)
- Map of Lateral Roads East Canyon
- Meeting Notes. BLM.
- 1991 - Survey Correspondence about Book Cliffs Highway
- 1991 - Environmental Assessment for Road Survey, Ouray To Cisco Hwy. BLM.
- 1991 - Prelimary Draft EIS, Highway from Ouray to Cisco. BLM.
- 1992 - Draft EIS, Ouray to Interstate 70. BLM.
- 2015 - Bookcliffs Transportation Corridor Study. Seven County Infrastructure Coalition.
- Astragalus sabulosus (Cisco milkvetch)
- Photo of Cisco milkvetch. USGS.
- 2020, September - Coalition Allocates Funds for Phase 2: Book Cliffs Highway. John Thompson & UB Media.
- County Not Keen On Book Cliffs Highway.
- 2020, September - Grand County Fights Resurrected Book Cliffs Highway Proposal. Brian Maffly and SL Trib.
- 2020, September - Proposed Highway Through Book Cliffs Faces Opposition From Grand County Again. KUER and .Kate Groetzinger.
- 2019, April - The Book Cliffs Highway Moving Forward. Sage Grouse Rebel at CCRT.
- 2019, April Uintah Officials Seek Local Support in Moab for Book Cliffs Road. Moab Sun New.
- 2019, July - Commissioners Attempt to Revive Book Cliffs Highway. John Thompson and UB Media
- 2019, December - Battle Over Proposed Book Cliffs Highway Resumes/ Moab Times Independent.
- 2014, August - Book Cliffs Highway Update. Stiles.
- Lawsuit filed in August of 2020 by Living Rivers and Center for Bilogical Diversity. Includes legal brief, exhibits and features in the news.
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