SB 80 Could Trigger an Air Quality Disaster

The Wasatch Front could experience even more toxic air quality problems if proposed $2 billion Bear River Development is advanced by SB 80 and HB 257. On April 14, 2015 Salt Lake City registered extremely high levels of PM 2.5 air pollution after experiencing 40 mph winds with 60-70 mph gusts.  High winds scoured large areas of exposed lakebed since the Great Salt Lake is experiencing extremely low water levels.  The resulting dust storm pushed PM 2.5 levels above 279 µg/m3  which the EPA classifies as “hazardous.”


Proposed Bear River Development will divert the Great Salt Lake’s largest water source, thereby lowering the shallow lake even further, exposing vast tracts of lakebed.  This will make dust storms more common, furthering the Wasatch Front’s air quality problems while repeating a grim chapter of western U.S. history.

Don’t let the Salt Lake Valley become the next Owens Valley

The Owens Valley of California experienced some of the worst air pollution ever recorded in the U.S. after Los Angeles diverted water away from Owens Lake in a project comparable to proposed Bear River Development. This triggered a decades-long legacy of dust control measures that have cost L.A. ratepayers over $1 billion and currently accounts for 15% of the average water bill.


Residents of the Owens Valley and surrounding areas are paying a different sort of cost.  These massive clouds of flour-like dust continue to pose a public health hazard to 40,000 people in the region and have been linked to higher rates of cancer, lung disorders and diminished immunity particularly for children and the elderly.  This public health disaster could have been avoided.

You can help today!

SB 80 would take $36 million sales tax dollars every year to fund Bear River Dams and the Lake Powell Pipeline.  The Speaker of the House is pushing this bill very hard.  The bill will be voted on in the House for the first time Today, Wednesday, February 24th at 4:10pm in Room 445 of the State Capitol in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

You can help! Tell the representatives on the Revenue and Taxation committee to vote NO on SB 80. The members of this committee are:

Rep. Daniel McCay (R),ChairRep. Ken Ivory (R)Rep. Jeremy A. Peterson (R), Vice ChairRep. Brian S. King (D)Rep. Joel K. Briscoe (D)Rep. John Knotwell (R)Rep. Rich Cunningham (R)Rep. Mike K. McKell (R)Rep. Gage Froerer (R)Rep. Douglas V. Sagers (R)Rep. Brian M. Greene (R)Rep. Jon E. Stanard (R)Rep. Eric K. Hutchings (R)

 Also make sure to tell your State Representative to vote NO on SB 80. Find your Representative.