Media Advisory, February 20, 2020

Contact:

Ryan Beam, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 853-9929, rbeam@biologicaldiversity.org
Darrell Fordham, Argyle Wilderness Preservation Alliance, (801) 301-4190, darrellfordham@hotmail.com
Ari Grace, Fridays For Future Utah, (801) 864-8491, aritrionfo@gmail.com
Jonny Vasic, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, (385) 707-3677, jvasic@uphe.org
Ingrid Griffee, Utah Chapter Sierra Club, (503) 707-4375, ikgriffee@gmail.com

Utah Coalition to Protest Misuse of Public Money on Fossil Fuel Projects

SALT LAKE CITY― Community advocates will demonstrate Friday outside the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition board meeting to protest the misuse of public funds on fossil fuel projects. Members of the Utah Clean Infrastructure Coalition will also speak at the board meeting.

The Permanent Community Impact Board has awarded the Seven County coalition more than $34 million for projects to benefit the oil and gas industry, including a new oil-train railway, a highway to transport oil and tar sands and multiple transportation studies. Laws require that these funds go toward projects that help communities deal with the effects of mineral development on federal public lands.

What: News conference and demonstration during Seven County Infrastructure Coalition board meeting to oppose misspending public funds on fossil fuel infrastructure

When: Friday, Feb. 21. Board meeting at 1 p.m., news conference at 2 p.m.

Where: Utah Department of Workforce Services building, 1385 South State St., Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115

Who: Members of the Utah Clean Infrastructure Coalition, representing the Center for Biological Diversity, Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Fridays For Future Utah and Argyle Wilderness Preservation Alliance.

Background
State and federal laws require that the federal mineral royalties administered by the Community Impact Board go toward hospitals, road repair and other public projects in rural communities hardest hit by mineral development on federal public lands.

Fossil fuel infrastructure proposals backed by the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition include the Uinta Basin Railway, Book Cliffs highway and satellite Inland Port hubs.

From 2014 to 2019, nearly all of the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition’s funding came from the Community Impact Board, according to state budgets. But after spending $17.3 million of public money, the Seven County coalition has completed few projects of public value.

Since 2012 the Community Impact Board has also issued $53.8 million to the Uintah Transportation Special Services District, mostly for road projects, including Seep Ridge Road, that benefit fossil fuel producers. The board also set aside $53 million for a proposed coal export facility in California or Mexico.

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.

Argyle Wilderness Preservation Alliance is a group of private property owners in an off-grid community in Argyle Canyon. We are deeply concerned with protecting the environment, flora and fauna, landowner’s rights, and landowner safety from the effects and influences of corrupt government officials and entities, specifically the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition.

Fridays For Future is an international movement of youth activists that strike from school on Fridays to pressure local, state, and national governments to take action regarding climate change in time to keep our planet under 1.5C of warming.

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment is dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of the citizens of Utah by promoting science-based health education and interventions that result in progressive and measurable improvements to the environment and our health.

The Utah Sierra Club is a grassroots volunteer organization that advocates for protection of the environment, development of renewable energy, and respect for principles of social equity, inclusion, and justice.

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