New bill would fund studies on Great Salt Lake
The U.S. Senate passed the Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act of 2022 on Tuesday.
According to Carter Williams of KSL News, the bill would allocate $25 million between 2022 and 2027 to form an assessment program to monitor the saline lake ecosystems in Great Basin states through the U.S. Geological Survey. The survey is required to “assess, monitor and conserve,” the ecosystems and the wildlife that depend on them.
The bill was first introduced to the U.S. Senate by Sen. Mitt Romney and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, months before the Great Salt Lake reached an all-time low water level in 2021.
Romney said national coverage of the lake’s decline helped his colleagues in Washington realize the importance of the lake and the potential dangers of not intervening. He cited concerns over arsenic and other heavy metal pollutants in the lakebed.
Utah Rep. Blake Moore co-sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives with California Rep. Jared Huffman.
The bill won’t focus specifically on Great Salt Lake, it would include other saline lakes and similar ecosystems in the Great Basin including Goose Lake in Oregon.
In a statement, Tuesday, Gov. Spencer Cox expressed his support for the bill, calling it “superb” and saying it would “address the economic value associated with the lake and the importance of migratory birds, help fill gaps in science around hydrology, integrate existing work being done on water quality and assess future water needs.”
You can read the original article at ksl.com. This story is made possible by the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a Solutions Journalism Initiative.