March 01, 2020

Utah Legislative Alert!

Wasatch Environmental Update for March 01, 2020

By John Worlock

Utah Legislative Alert!

It’s late February, the time of the year for the scary Utah Legislature to be in session.  It’s scary, because the Legislature is prone to pass some really bad bills. One of their recent forays into the territory of serious error is the creation of the Utah Inland Port Authority, with the charter of inviting more diesel trains and more diesel busses into our Northwestern Neighborhood to whistle, snort and breathe exhaust; while these carriers’ burdens are shuffled around by massive diesel fork loaders.  A very unpleasant addition to the neighborhood!

To add insult to injury, the Inland Port threatens to spread north of Interstate 80 into the edges of the Great Salt Lake that are home to many varieties of wildlife, including migrating species of birds.  This is one of the reasons that Great Salt Lake Audubon has taken an especially strong interest in this year’s session of the Utah Legislature.     

We go now to Great Salt Lake Audubon’s 2020 Legislative Update #3, with a current list of the bills that might impact the local environment, and their suggestions as to which of them deserve support or opposition.  Surprisingly, many of the 2020 bills seem to be supportable.

Notable, however, is HB:347, introduced by a member of the Port Authority board.  Although our new city mayor likes this bill, it is denounced by many opponents of the port as “window dressing.”  GSL Audubon opposes it, and wants to make amendments, as it simply “encourages” sustainable development and the mitigation of environmental impacts, rather than making them mandatory.  GSL Audubon suggests, with an exclamation point, that you urge your legislators to oppose HB347.   

We recommend an educational visit to their website at greatsaltlakeaudubon dot org.  In the search tab, write in “2020 Utah Legislature” and then click on the word ‘Home.”  Scroll down to click on Legislative Update #3 and - voila! - there’s the information you need.  Study it and make a plan to come back next week for Update #4, and so forth.

These are perilous times for the Utah environment, since the leaders of the legislature are full throttle in support of rampant growth and development.