SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — On Tuesday the Salt Lake County Council unanimously approved an ordinance that bans mining and mineral extraction in forestry and recreation zones.
The vote comes after a real estate developer announced plans to build an open-pit limestone quarry in Parley’s Canyon.
At the county council meeting on Tuesday, Councilman Richard Snelgrove said every one of the 248 emails he received about the ordinance was in support.
“Two hundred and forty to zero is about as lopsided as it gets,” Snelgrove said.
The Salt Lake City-based Tree Farm, LLC project, officially dubbed the ‘I-80 South Quarry,’ hired Granite Construction and launched a website arguing the resources will be needed to match Utah’s growth.
The ordinance change was drafted shortly after Tree Farm submitted two proposals to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining so it could begin operations.
“Active measures are necessary to protect our canyon environment and preserve recreation opportunities,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said in a statement shortly after Tuesday’s vote. “Today, Salt Lake County took an active measure to prohibit future mining in the Wasatch range.”
In a statement to KSL, Tree Farm said they are “considering next steps,” adding that Tuesday’s move was in violation of a state law that prohibits orders that ban operations relating to critical infrastructure needs. The group said they will engage in “direct public advocacy efforts to citizens and elected officials to address this problem openly and honestly.”