The Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB) is the state agency responsible for distributing royalties from oil, gas, and mineral extraction on federal lands back to communities that are socially or economically impacted by mineral resource development. Because these counties can’t collect taxes on federal lands, the money helps these communities deal with the problems and fluxing population that a big boom can bring, funding hospitals, libraries, road maintenance, senior centers, sewage treatment plants, etc.  The funds are typically granted or loaned to subdivisions of the state that apply.  For example, the Castle Valley Fire Department recently got help from the CIB procuring a well for filling their trucks and the runway expansion at the Canyonlands Field Airport was made possible by loans from the CIB.

In their latest move, the CIB board has decided to conditionally grant $27.9 million dollars to continue the studying and development of a rail spur connecting the Uinta Basin to the Union Pacific Railroad in order to increase oil exports from the basin (normal grant/loan combinations do not exceed $5 million and are almost always much lower).

In order to side-step regulations on the Permanent Community Impact Fund, the State Legislature created the Throughput Infrastructure Fund in 2016, which is where this last $27.9 million grant will come from. SB 256 transferred sales tax revenue into this new fund, managed by the CIB, in exchange for the same amount of Mineral Lease (previously CIB) money put into a special transportation fund, which would fund road projects otherwise funded with sales tax revenue. This complex runaround effectively strips a large part of the money managed by the CIB from restrictions on use. All other CIB managed money is prioritized, through the Mineral Leasing Act, for use in public projects explicitly aimed at alleviating the impacts of oil, gas, or mining on communities bearing the burden of extraction.

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From CIB at Throughput Infrastructure Fund website

The Throughput Infrastructure Fund runaround was originally created to facilitate the transfer of money to support development of the controversial Oakland Coal Export Terminal, which now appears to be dead. The fund is now being used to facilitate private development of fossil fuel interests in the Uinta Basin, most specifically via the Uinta Rail Line. We are challenging the use of these funds in this way.

“Imagine if, instead of financing the dirty energy economy, the CIB invested those millions of dollars into community solar cooperatives, climate change adaptation and drought resiliency programs, migrant and refugee services, libraries, fire departments and hospitals — the types of services that actually “mitigate socioeconomic impacts resulting from natural resource development.” -Max Granger in an opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune

More Information and Resources:

Community Impact Board Website: Agendas, Minutes & Audio

CIB should fund communities, not a dirty energy railroad – Recent Op Ed by @_MaxGranger in the Salt Lake Tribune

A History of the Oakland Coal Export Terminal:

2015, August: Utah Groups Join Oakland in Opposing Coal Export Plan

  • Click here to read the press release from the NGO coalition
  • Click here to read the letter from the NGO coalition to Utah’s Community Impact Board (CIB)
  • Click here to read the story in the East Bay Express by Darwin BondGraham
  • Click here to read the letter from EarthJustice
  • Click here to read why the residents of Oakland are opposed to coal exports

October 22, 2015: Citizens of eastern Utah submit letter to Utah’s Attorney General on use of CIB funds for proposed coal transport facility in Oakland, CA

The Board of Utah’s Community Impact Fund (mineral lease money) is considering the approval of a loan of $53 million to build a corporate coal transport facility at a port terminal in Oakland, California. And now, Utah representatives and senators, with a nod from the governor, plan to launder the money through a state transportation fund.

  • Click here to read letter to Utah’s Attorney General concerning use of CIB funds for development of a coal transport facility in Oakland, California
  • Click here to read this blog by Bill Rau at On The Colorado
  • Click here to read 1993 opinion by Attorney General of Utah about CIB funds
  • Click here to read 1984 opinion by Attorney General of Utah about CIB funds
  • Click here for more information from Far Country
  • Click here to read this story (March 9, 2016) by Christopher Coats of SNL News called Utah Bill Shifts Funding For Oakland Coal Port; Critics Call It Money Laundering.
  • Click here to read this story by Brian Maffly of the Salt Lake Tribune
  • Click here to read this story by William Yardley of the LA Times called “How Utah Quietly Made Plans to Ship Coal Through California”
2016, June: Groups write U.S. Attorney General asking for investigation of coal shipping terminal deal
  • Click here to read NGO Press Release: Oakland Coal Export Terminal
  • Click here to read the LETTER from Earthjustice on behalf of their clients
2018, May: Utah Scraps $53 Million Plan to Ship Coal to Oakland
  • Click here to read this story by David DeBolt of the East Bay Times
  • May 15, 2018 – AP story about the result of the developer’s lawsuit HERE.
  • Click here for a story by Brian Maffly of the Salt Lake Tribune titled In a Potential Boon To Rural Utah Judge Overturns Oakland’s Ban On Coal Shipments Through Its Port.
  • Click here to read this story called Coal Industry Attorneys Threaten to Sue Oakland Over Records.
  • Click here to read this story by Molly Marcello of the Moab Times Independent titled Utah considers future options after Oakland says No to coal.
  • Click here to read about Oakland’s City Council Ban from William Yardley of the LA Times
  • Click here to read this High Country News article by Sarah Troy

2018, December: Oakland City pulls the plug on Coal Export Terminal by terminating the lease held by the developer for failure to meet construction milestones – developer sues

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