Great Salt Lake lawsuit against State of Utah continues

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — On Sept. 6, 2023 five groups sued the state of Utah for failing to protect the Great Salt Lake (GSL).

Since then, the Division of Water Resources has announced plans to assess water resources and management tools, but even after two good winters, Great Salt Lake Commissioner Brian Steed said in late March: “It’s still not healthy, but it’s closer to healthy than we have been at any time really since 2019.”

36 law professors file amicus brief

On May 3, 36 law professors asked the court to consider an amicus brief , also known as a friend of the court brief, in support of the lawsuit against the State of Utah filed by the five conservation groups.

These law professors are experts in their fields and among the nation’s leading experts on the legal history and evolution of the public trust doctrine.

Their brief states “The ongoing tragedy is legally unjustified. The state’s failure to apply Utah’s public trust doctrine (PTD) to protect the GSL against substantial impairment is a violation of the public’s right to a sustainable GSL. This court can correct the state’s crabbed view of the PTD by requiring the state to consider the effect on the lake’s ecological integrity of the upper basin diversions of the public’s water.”

Conservation groups respond to motions to dismiss lawsuit

The professors filed the amicus brief in response to numerous motions to dismiss the lawsuit. Conservation groups filed a 135-page response to the numerous motions to dismiss in the suit on April 26.

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