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Local fishing guide says his livelihood is on the line, while representatives take a stand against the Uinta Basin Railway

Senator Bennet held a press conference today in Glenwood Canyon, along the proposed track of the Uinta Railway accompanied by several other state and local representatives, KDNK’s Hattison Rensberry spoke to officials at the scene. They spoke at length about their opposition to the railway project, detailing their concerns and the importance of it to those who use its water, the ecology, recreation, and the local economy. Serendipitously, several flyfishing guides arrived just in time to be some of the only local residents in attendance.

Charlie Noone was raised in Glenwood and works as a guide for “Hookers”, a flyfishing shop in downtown Glenwood Springs.

Noone: Well, we're both full-time fly fisher fishing guides and uh, this is our livelihood. So any train accidents really affect us massively. Like the fire here a couple years ago was shut our down our industry completely and it was devastating. Absolutely. So a train would be much more long term for us and we're heavily against it.
Yeah. We love our river and we're excited to share with people and I think more times people come out and see it. They understand the impact that it can have and it's a huge part of our conversation on the river is just the health and, uh, long. Uh, viability of the ecosystem and like the effects that we have on it.
And I'm always telling people like, you know, there's a cause and effect in these decisions that are made. So, um, yeah, it affects us massively whenever there's an accident or a closure or a blowout, and that would just be devastating to us if it happens.

Our reporter caught up with Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes at the event for a look at how he sees this as an issue for the city as a whole.

Godes:  I think what everybody in Glenwood knows, everybody probably in Colorado knows how fragile this canyon is at all times. There is death and natural calamities all the time, and we know that. But when you have something like the new Palestine. Derailment. When you hear of communities like that, you hear of communities like Valdez, Alaska.
You don't think about the beauty of those places. You don't think about the people, the community, the Chamber of Congress, the cute downtowns. You don't think about any of that. All, you know, when you, when you, when most Americans hear New Palestine. Or Valdez, Alaska. All you think about is the tragedy of the ecological disaster, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna let Glenwood Springs become mentioned in the same breath as those communities.

State Representative Elizabeth Velasco was also in attendance, and spoke passionately about the most important aspects of this issue that she wants to get across to other legislators and government officials.

Velasco: You know, to me the most important is that we choose to live here because of our way of life, our love of nature, and that we depend on it for our economy. We work and recreate and live all around. We depend on the open roads. We want our kids to have access to clean air and clean water, and that's a jeopardy, you know, especially if we have an accident, an incident with this oil train.
So as an environmentalist, as a community organizer, I know that this could really impact our community in a catastrophic way. So it is very important for them to hear that we care about it, and that we are gonna be elevating our community's voice to stand against it.

Hattison Rensberry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Drawing, but has worked for newsrooms in various capacities since 2019.
She also provides Editorial Design for the Sopris Sun.