Letter: Railway proposal could put Denver’s drinking water at risk

The March 11 article concerning the proposed Unita Basin Railway addresses the serious danger of hauling wax crude oil near the Colorado River. A derailment near the Colorado River is not the most dangerous location.

A high percentage of Denver’s water flows through a tunnel connecting Winter Park to South Boulder Creek. The railroad runs through the Moffat Tunnel to East Portal and follows the South Boulder though the South Boulder Canyon. From Pine Cliff “Pine” east the railroad works its way down a steep railroad grade with numerous tunnels and curves. It is on a manmade shelf high above the stream. At Crescent, Denver has a storage dam.

A derailment rupturing an oil tank car would pose a serious problem for Denver Water and endanger thousands of lives. The steep roughness of the canyon would make any speedy cleanup nearly impossible.

Although the railroad has an excellent safety record, serious accidents have occurred in the canyon, and they can happen again.

Do we want to bet Denver’s drinking water against the profits of shipping wax oil. Any cleanup and settlement will cost the tax payers big money.

Paul Bonnifield


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