Legislation builds on Utah’s efforts as the Great Salt Lake hit historically low water levels earlier this month
Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Burgess Owens (UT-04) and Chris Stewart (UT-02) introduced the Great Salt Lake Recovery Act, legislation to study historic drought conditions and protect the long-term health of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Earlier this month, the Great Salt Lake dropped to its lowest level on record for the second time in a year, posing a threat to Utah’s environment and economy. This legislation builds on conservation actions taken by the Utah legislature in the 2022 legislative session, including the designation of $40 million for the Great Salt Lake watershed enhancement program. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“The Great Salt Lake is integral to Utah’s ecosystem and landscape,” said Rep. Owens. “Historic drought conditions have threatened this treasure, and time is running out. I am proud to support the Great Salt Lake Recovery Act because it is a crucial step to understanding and protecting this fragile resource.”
“The Great Salt Lake is synonymous with the Beehive State,” said Congressman Stewart. “And it’s our responsibility to ensure this staple of our community is maintained, preserved, and protected for the people of Utah. This month, the lake dropped to its lowest level ever—a grim milestone to the wildlife, people, and industries along its receding shores. State and local officials are hard at work to save the lake and support those who rely on it, but reversing this trend will take a collective effort. This legislation is a great first step toward finding a solution, but our work is far from over.”
The Great Salt Lake Recovery Act builds on Utah’s efforts to address the historic drought conditions of the Great Salt Lake and other saline lakes in the Great Basin by:
- Authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out a program to monitor and assess the water availability and conditions of saline lakes in the Great Basin, including the Great Salt Lake, in order to help inform management and conservation activities for these ecosystems. The Corps will coordinate with relevant federal and state agencies, tribes, local governments, and nonprofits to implement the program. The bill authorizes $10,000,000 for this program.
- Authorizing a feasibility study on addressing drought conditions in the Great Salt Lake, which may include an identification of any potential technologies—including pipelines, coastal desalination plants, and canal reinforcement—capable of redirecting water sources and necessary permitting to redirect water sources across state borders.