“The seven county coalition does not intend nor desire that the railroad cut through sensitive areas in Grand County,” said San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams at the July 7 commission meeting.
If a rail line is built, it will instead come through Duchesne and Carbon counties along Highway 191 to the existing rail lines in Carbon, Emery and Grand counties.
Adams clarified a statement from the June 23 commission meeting that suggested that a new rail line could be built directly from Uintah to Grand counties through the Book Cliffs.
Adams said on July 7 that the project would not include a new railroad to come down Hay Canyon, Sego Canyon, East Canyon, or any other canyon in Grand County.
At the current time, an estimated 700 trucks a day are hauling petroleum products out of Uintah County. Adams explained, “A big pressure point is in Uintah County, where they are trying to get 700 trucks a day, full of oil and gas, out of the area on a pretty narrow road.”
According to the Moab Times Independent, the Grand County Transportation District has allocated funds to study an “enhanced transportation corridor” in Grand and Uintah counties. The study will investigate potential roads or pipeline routes, but apparently, not a rail line.
In other matters at the July 7 Commission meeting, the results of the June 24 Primary election was canvassed by the Commissioners.
Voter participation in District 3 increased from 525 in 2010 to 1,010 in the 2014 Democratic primary election. The mail-in ballot was considered a success.
“Our goal was to increase voting in the county and the mail-in ballots clearly did that,” said Commissioner Bruce Adams about the project. Adams also mentioned that the goal was not necessarily to decrease the costs of running an election.
Although the costs of the election were nearly the same as previous years, the cost per vote decreased from $24.79 to $11.17. This is directly connected to the increase in voting.
County Clerk Norman Johnson said that the county sent public notices in an effort to inform voters that ballots needed to be postmarked by the day before the election, June 23.
Despite this effort, 36 ballots were received after the voting deadline. Although that number is not enough to change the results, Johnson said that the county will increase efforts to notify the public of a pre-election day deadline in future elections.
The possibility of declaring San Juan County energy zones was also discussed by the commissioners. The commission had a phone conference with Mark Ward, of the Utah Association of Counties, about potential state legislature to declare certain areas of the county energy zones.
This could protect these areas from the possibility of future federal actions that could restrict energy development. The proposed legislation is still in its infancy stages.