February 03, 2023

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Republicans block resolution to create target level for the Great Salt Lake

Advocates for the lake said they were deeply disappointed.

By Emma Keddington | Great Salt Lake Collaborative | Feb. 2, 2023, 9:42 a.m | Updated: 1:16 p.m.

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

A resolution to create a target level for the Great Salt Lake was voted down by a Senate committee despite widespread public support.

SCR006, sponsored by Nate Blouin, D- Salt Lake City, aimed to create a lake level goal of 4,198 feet, which, according to Blouin, is the lowest level the lake can possibly be to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Today, the lake sits at 4,190 feet. According to Blouin, the resolution would not be binding. However it would establish the Great Salt Lake water level as a government priority.

Just last week, the resolution was touted in a news conference as a piece of “historic” legislation.

Many members of the public testified in favor of the resolution Wednesday, Feb. 1, including lobbyists, activists, and concerned citizens. But the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment committee voted it down 4-2, with all Republican members voting against and the two Democrats voting for it.

During public comment, Lynn de Freitas, executive director of Friends of the Great Salt Lake, said that when it comes to the Great Salt Lake, it’s impossible to be satisfied with short term goals.

She expressed strong support for the bill, saying that “setting this elevation will help us achieve this goal.”

”There are some who think this goal is too lofty, too out of reach,” she said, “but I would disagree it’s not lofty enough.”

But Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, said he worried the resolution would divert all government attention to the lake.

“We shouldn’t place one [issue] above another,” he said. “I’m really worried that setting a number on a terminal saline lake like this will put a stake in the sand. It will do it in a way that’s not as holistic as we need to.”

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

Advocates for the lake were deeply disappointed.