December 21, 2022

Salt Lake Tribune: Great Salt Lake expert explains another threat from proposed US Magnesium canal dredging

Potential danger lurks in the lakebed the company plans to disturb. 

By Leia Larsen  | Dec. 20, 2022, 9:15 a.m.

Click here to read this article on the Salt Lake Tribune website.

A proposed canal extension project has stirred up emphatic concern about plans to siphon water from the shrinking Great Salt Lake.

But a retired U.S. Geological Survey scientist says US Magnesium’s proposal could pose disastrous consequences to the lakebed as well.

The company wants to lengthen its two intakes by a collective 3.7 miles, resulting in a lot of displaced sediment. That could choke out important microbes and churn up toxins in the water column, according to Robert Baskin, a hydrologist with more than 30 years of experience studying the lake. He outlined his concerns in a lengthy letter he said he sent to Gov. Spencer Cox late last month.

“MagCorp’s proposed project,” Baskin wrote, using US Magnesium’s old moniker, “would destroy the remaining chance that [Great Salt Lake’s] ecosystem might quickly recover if lake levels were to rebound.”

US Magnesium filed for a dredging permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in August, arguing the lake’s receding water threatened access to the brine it uses to produce magnesium and other minerals. The project also needs approval from the Utah Division of Water Quality, which recently received a torrent of comments in opposition.

Click here to read the full article on the Salt Lake Tribune website.