For Utah lawmakers, it was the year of the Great Salt Lake. After being accused of years of neglect from environmental groups, lawmakers answered a call from Gov. Spencer Cox who in December stood on the shores of Antelope Island to recommend $50 million for conservation efforts aimed at the lake.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Cox said of the efforts this session. “I am so grateful for Speaker Brad Wilson, who has really taken this on in the policy changes as well as the funding. It’s a great start and I think he would tell you that it’s just a start. We still have a lot to do but this is a very important first step.”
In February, lawmakers got a unique view of the lake as they piled into Utah Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters. There, hundreds of feet above the Great Salt Lake — which in some areas is not really a lake anymore — they saw firsthand the devastating impacts of drought, coupled with a growing population sucking water out of the Weber, Bear and Jordan rivers.