That sound you hear coming down the tracks is Wyoming's growing oil industry.
Business leaders and Gov. Matt Mead celebrated the opening of Eighty-Eight Oil LLC's new transloading facility on Tuesday in Fort Laramie. The rail terminal is aimed at exporting new oil production from the Powder River Basin to buyers outside the state. It will also connect pipelines transporting Canadian crude to Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad's mainline near Eighty-Eight Oil's existing crude oil terminal in Guernsey.
"By connecting our terminal to BNSF’s expansive railway system, we can provide producers in the Rocky Mountain region and Canada further flexibility in adding value to their production and transporting it to markets throughout the United States,” Eighty-Eight Oil Superintendent Jerry Herz said in a statement.
The terminal consists of three loop tracks, each capable of accommodating 100-car unit trains. The initial loading capacity of the facility is 80,000 barrels per day with the potential to expand, Eighty-Eight Oil said.
The project is not without controversy. Writing recently in the Torrington Telegram newspaper, Fort Laramie resident Joyce Evans said the project posed a threat to air, water and soil quality in the area.
"We are furious that our way of life is being compromised by a new neighbor, apparently focused more on profit than on the health of its neighbors and community," Evans wrote in a letter to the editor.
Gov. Matt Mead has been a supporter of the project. On Tuesday, he called it an "impressive facility."
"By providing new jobs for Wyoming people, the facility supports the economy of Goshen County and the entire state. I am pleased that Eighty-Eight Oil chose Wyoming for this operation,” Mead said in a statement.
Eighty-Eight Oil, a subsidiary of the True companies, said the facility would create around 50 jobs in the southeastern Wyoming.