UPA attended the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition's monthly meeting held October 6 in Price.  The Coalition consists of Uintah, Duchesne, Daggett, Carbon, Emery, San Juan and Sevier Counties and is represented by a member of each county's commission.  The purpose of the Coalition is to jointly foster the development of infrastructure in these rural counties to facilitate economic development, jobs and growth.

The Commission is working on several items of interest to UPA Members, a number of which were discussed at this month's meeting.

Rail Study
Proponents of a proposed rail line from the Uinta Basin to Craig, Colorado have approached the Coalition to partner in funding a feasibility study.  The rail could potentially facilitate the import of goods to the Basin and export of commodities, including oil, to markets outside Utah.  The Coalition vigorously debated the merits and drawbacks of governments participating in a project like this where private industry has yet been willing to step up and affirmatively declare that this would be a significant benefit.  The ultimate cost of such a project would be approximately $1 billion.  Proponents argue there is support from industry.  The Coalition ultimately passed a resolution approving the Coalition seek a Tiger Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation but would guarantee a match to the grant amount (up to $5M) if the grant doesn't cover the entire study.

Nikola Loan Request
The Coalition discussed a request by Nikola Motor Company for a loan from the Coalition to fund 4 hydrogen fueling stations to be located around the State.  Nikola plans to manufacture hydrogen powered vehicles, specializing in trucks, that the company claims will have a significant advantage over the current wave of electric vehicles as a result of their much longer travel range and greatly reduced fueling/charging times.  The tie to our industry is the fact that the hydrogen would potentially be manufactured using locally produced natural gas.  The company is committed to sourcing local gas for the manufacturing process.

After many accolades about the company, it's commitment to Utah and the technology it has developed, the Coalition decided this was not a project it should be involved in and respectfully denied the loan request.

Uintah Advantage Letter of Intent
The Coalition approved a Letter of Intent with Uintah Advantage to formalize their discussions with the company regarding assistance in funding water, sewer, power and potentially natural gas service to the proposed project.  As a reminder, Uintah Advantage is proposing to build an oil upgrader facility in the Basin that would process approximately 40,000 barrels/day of waxy crude without assessing a differential on the price of the crude.  Project advocates are touting the upgrader as a major source of employment, economic development and renewed vitality into the Basin.

The Coalition, in signing the Letter of Intent, is showing interest in furthering negotiations into the details of the project and becoming more formally involved in the future.

Resolution to Accept Ridge Road as a Project
The Coalition voted to accept Ridge Road formerly as a project on which they would like to focus and provide assistance.  Ridge Road is in Carbon County and acts as the main haul road for coal produced in the area to access the rail.  It also provides access for oil and gas trucks from production in the area.  More information on this project will be available in coming meetings.