What are Utah politicians doing to help the Great Salt Lake?

Record low water levels are seen in the Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island on Friday, July 22, 2022.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Utah lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled two pieces of legislation aimed at helping the Great Salt Lake that advocates are calling “historic.”

One is a resolution that sets a concrete goal for improving the lake. The other is a bill that will direct sales tax revenue towards water conservation.

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A measurable goal for the Great Salt Lake

The one-page resolution, sponsored by Sen. Nate Blouin, D-Salt Lake City, lists a number of reasons why the lake is important — among the clauses are the lake’s “significant lake-effect snowfall to the Wasatch Front’s ski areas”; “the numerous mineral extraction companies and their 5,000+ employees”; “a $1.4 billion input to the state of Utah economy,” and the “important nesting and feeding habitat for over 10 million birds.”

But perhaps most notable is the stated goal of returning the lake level to 4,198 feet, a number that Blouin said is the minimum required to maintain the ecosystem.

The state lacks a “measurable objective,” making it hard to know what exactly lawmakers mean when they say “save” the Great Salt Lake, says Zachary Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council. “Everybody wants to save it, the Republicans, the Democrats, they all want to save it. But there’s no goal.”

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“We’ve set up a great framework that’s going to get water back to the lake, but we haven’t established a target that gives us an overarching goal to work towards,” added Blouin, speaking to reporters at …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

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