I thought every good conservative was against extra layers of government, bureaucracy, and giving away control of our public lands to outside interests. It truly surprises me to hear a few conservative voices in this community coming out in support of the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition. The coalition proposes to pool our precious Permanent Community Impact Board Fund (CIB) grant money (used in this community for the hospital, road work, and other public projects) and invest that money back in infrastructure that only corporations will benefit from.

This extra layer of government will function as a mega county, using its newly created government status to apply for grants from the limited pool of CIB money that our small communities rely upon. How will Castle Valley get a new bridge or Moab afford a new waste water treatment plant if a mega county is using its clout to apply for grants out of the same pool?

These big energy infrastructure projects should be paid for by the industry that is using them. We’re talking about a rail line, or a road for high-speed oil tanker trucks coming out out of the Uintah Basin, they estimate the road would would cost $200 million with $1.2 million every year in maintenance. It is corporate welfare to use public money for the profit of these big corporations (some, like U.S. Oil Sands, are even foreign). They are holding out a carrot to us, saying that we could charge a small fee on the trucks coming down the Book Cliffs highway to get a small percentage back for use in our county.

So in other words, they want to take the CIB money that would otherwise come straight to us, invest it again in oil and gas, and then 25 or 30 years down the line, if there is a profit, they’ll give us a small percentage back. Well to heck with that. I’ll take our percentage now and forego the gambling in unproven industries like tar sands and oil shale (all projects tried up until this point have gone belly up because of the disastrous economics of those low-quality fuels).

This isn’t red vs. blue. This is us vs. them. The people vs. the corporations.