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Environmentalists stage silent protest to save the Great Salt Lake

GSL protest
Posted at 2:51 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 16:51:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of environmentalists staged a silent protest inside a legislative committee hearing to call for more to be done to save the Great Salt Lake.

During a presentation about water infrastructure in the Utah State Legislature's Public Infrastructure and Government Operations Interim Appropriations Subcommittee, a half-dozen people wore masks with flourescent X's that read things like "Save our GSL" and "Let us speak."

The presentation by Utah's Division of Water Resources focused on the Bear River development project, which would divert water from the Great Salt Lake. The project, which would include a new reservoir near Tremonton, has been controversial since its inception. It also has been pushed off repeatedly. Division director Candice Hasenyager testified that the agency didn't see a need for it until 2050.

Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion, D-Cottonwood Heights, asked how much water the Bear River project would take from the Great Salt Lake? About eight inches, she was told. The representative replied that she didn't feel the lake could lose that much.

As FOX 13 has previously reported, the Great Salt Lake has hit a new record low, dropping nearly a foot in the face of climate change and a mega-drought. Recently, some environmental groups have managed to secure water rights for the lake. Some Utah lawmakers are also proposing legislation to try to protect the critical part of northern Utah's ecosystem.

The committee took no public comment on the presentation, which was meant to be informational for lawmakers. Denise Cartwright with Save Our Great Salt Lake, called for the legislature to do more.

"There’s a lot of talk from legislators but there just isn’t enough action, so our legislators need to know that Utah cares about Great Salt Lake," she told FOX 13. "We all need to get together and cause a stir and raise our voices to our legislators that we care and this is an issue that needs to be prioritized starting in this upcoming legislative session."