Utah lawmakers evaluate the Great Salt Lake from above
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers set out on a fact-finding mission Tuesday morning. They’ve heard about the shrinking Great Salt Lake but got to see it from a different vantage point – from up above.
On the south lawn of the Utah Capitol, lawmakers boarded Utah National Air Guard helicopters to see for themselves the crisis facing the Great Salt Lake – the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River.
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There are several proposals being discussed this legislative session to deal with the crisis — from spending millions of dollars to improve conditions to a four-tier system where fees would be imposed for secondary water companies.
Lawmakers who took the aerial tour expressed that steps need to be taken now.
“To actually see it is heartbreaking. The magnitude of the water loss it’s amazing,” said Representative Karen Kwan (D – Murray).
Sen. Jake Anderegg, R- Lehi, said the ride gave him a better perspective.
“I would say it’s not even a tenth of what it was. We gotta do something. I think the bill the House passed yesterday on secondary water metering is the lowest hanging fruit and the biggest step forward.”
The lake level is at a 170-year record low and continues to drop.
Groups working to save the Great Salt Lake say losing this precious resource is bad for the economy, habitat and air quality. They’re hopeful lawmakers can see that there is still time to take action, no matter how small.
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