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Provo Municipal Council passes resolution for environmental protections at Utah Lake

By Ashtyn Asay - | Jan 5, 2022

Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo

Algae floats in the water at Utah Lake State Park in Provo on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.

A joint resolution of Provo City Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and the Provo Municipal Council, “supporting the environmental protections for Utah Lake,” was made during the Municipal Council meeting held Tuesday.

The resolution was presented by Councilmembers George Handley and Shannon Ellsworth. The resolution asks for a stronger consideration of the health of Utah Lake and its place in the Utah Valley community before the Utah State Legislature 2022 General Session.

“Counselor Ellsworth and I had been in conversations with concerned citizens, with state legislators, about our concerns that there was a possible development proposal that could be moved forward in the next legislative session,” Handley said. “We had become concerned that this proposal had been based on some misleading understanding of ecological characteristics of the lake, not to mention some of the financial and engineering risks that attend the proposal.”

No proposal was mentioned by name during the presentation, or in the resolution’s supporting documents. Additionally, the council maintained that it has not taken a formal position regarding the project in question, but is concerned about the environmental implications of the project and the lack of a public engagement process.

“There is a concern that the future of Utah Lake could be altered without a proper or robust or transparent public engagement process which kind of defies the point of government,” Ellsworth said.

“We don’t normally find ourselves wanting to jump into every single potential issue that might be before the state legislature, but this is an issue of such significance to the entire valley and county,” Handley said. “We felt that it was significant enough that we started having conversations with the rest of the council and with citizens and again with state legislators about the possibility of asking them to take some steps that would protect the lake from degradation that we feel would be catastrophic frankly if it were to go all the way to the level that it has been proposed.”

At the Provo council work meeting held Dec. 12, the council had discussed the possibility of requesting a repeal of the H.B. 272 Utah Lake Amendments. Ultimately, they decided to call upon the Utah Legislature to make amendments to the bill instead.

“There seems to be quite a bit of willingness on the part of state legislators that we’ve been speaking with to amend that bill,” Handley said.

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