Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signs multiple bills to preserve Great Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed 67 bills into law on Monday, several of which will have an impact on the future of the Great Salt Lake.

The Great Salt Lake fell to its lowest level in history in July 2021.

Amongst the high number of bills to receive the governor’s signature, the ones that will affect Utah’s largest body of water are HB410, HB429, and HB157.

HB410, sponsored by House Speaker Brad Wilson, will attempt to save the lake with the Great Salt Lake Watershed Enhancement program, which will oversee a $40 million trust conducted by a conservation organization. The primary focus of the funds will be to retain and enhance water flows to the lake; improve water quality and quantity in the watershed; conserve and restore upstream habitats; and integrate water quality and management plans.

HB429, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Miles, is aimed at developing an overall water budget in an effort to improve water management and watershed of the Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake Amendments encourage an assessment of the lake with $5 million in initial funding.

HB157, sponsored by Rep. Timothy Hawkes, will keep surplus money earned from revenues the state earns as royalties from industries operating on state sovereign lands, such as the Great Salt Lake, in an account to provide funds for them. Prior to the bill being passed, surplus funds could be used to fund other projects; HB157 will not allow funds to be spent anywhere else.

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