Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, May 2, 2023


Wendy Park, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7138,
Nate Hunt, Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell, (303) 825-7037,

D.C. Federal Appeals Court to Hear Arguments Wednesday Challenging Oil Train Approval

WASHINGTON― A federal appeals court panel will hear arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by conservation groups challenging the U.S. Surface Transportation Board’s approval of the proposed Uinta Basin Railway. The railway, which could facilitate the quadrupling of oil extraction in northeast Utah’s Uinta Basin, would move crude from Utah through Colorado to Gulf Coast refineries.

What: Oral arguments on a petition for review of the Surface Transportation Board’s approval of the Uinta Basin Railway

When: 9:30 a.m. ET, Wednesday, May 3

Where: U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, 333 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001. The hearing will also be livestreamed.

Who: The Center for Biological Diversity will be represented by attorney Wendy Park. She will be available for interviews after the hearing. Also available will be Nate Hunt, representing Eagle County, Colo., which filed a similar challenge to be considered by the court at the same time.

In February 2022 conservation groups sued the Surface Transportation Board to challenge its approval of the oil railway. The lawsuit says the board violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider that the proposed railway will spur increased oil production in the Uinta Basin — estimated at an additional 14.7 million gallons a day — and carry up to five two-mile-long oil trains daily through the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf Coast.

The board also ignored the fact that the railway would increase oil consumption, adding 53 million tons of carbon dioxide per year to the atmosphere.

Nearly all the railway through Ashley National Forest in Utah would be on public lands protected by the roadless area conservation rule. The oil trains would increase the risk of fires and oil spills along the route through Colorado, including the vulnerable Colorado River corridor. Ramped-up fossil fuel production in the Uinta Basin would likely increase smog in western Colorado.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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