In recent presentations given by Mike McKee, who now works for the coalition, he paints a dire need for increased transportation out of the Uintah Basin. His arguments are based on “lost revenue” to the state, the feds, the tribes and the companies of the Unitah Basin. His main argument is that production, and revenue, will go up if more transportation is available out of the basin.
This is probably true, however, the way that he frames it as “lost” revenue for the state without increased transportation is a distortion of the truth. Imagine the oil fields are like a bank; the oil isn’t going anywhere, it’s in savings. The argument that the state is losing money by not extracting all the oil as fast as we can is simply not true. We are actually in a better place with a more stable long-term economy if we slowly and steadily drain the reserves, rather than emptying them as fast as we can and putting it on rails for export. Nobody but the executives want a huge boom followed by bust.
The coalition is also banking on heavy investment from the Utah Community Impact Board. They plan to ask for $80 million over the course of two years.
Remember, this money is usually granted in sums smaller than $5 million, and is used by our rural counties to build bridges, fire stations, recreation centers and libraries. All of our counties lose out when huge sums are granted for a single industrial use.
McKee actually includes a slide that shows that renewables are the fastest-growing energy source. Be smart Utah. Fund clean renewable projects that will continue to benefit us all.