This past weekend,U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson joined CBS Sunday Morning to discuss efforts to save the Great Salt Lake. The interview highlights Senator Romney’s Great Salt Lake Recovery Act—signed into law by President Biden—which builds on Utah’s efforts to address the historic drought conditions of the Lake. The interview also highlights the State’s recent conservation efforts spearheaded by Speaker Wilson.
Excerpts of the interview can be found below. The full interview is available here.
Senator Romney: There are some people who say, “It’s all going to change. Don’t worry, we’re going to go from dry to wet, this is just a big cycle”…Assuming that we’re going to have a continuation of what we’re seeing now, you have got to take action, “what if” action. Allowing the lake to dry up is not something we can allow…The water in this area helped us bloom like a rose, as the scripture says. You know, we’ve got trees and beautiful lawns, but some of that is going to have to change.
Speaker Wilson: It’s been almost unprecedented, really, on this issue, how everyone regardless of political ideology, or age, or where they grew up, is aware of the Lake and cares about it, for various reasons.
Lee Cowan: President Biden just signed a bill co-sponsored by Senator Romney that allocates $25 million to monitor Great Salt Lake and others like it.
Romney: My guess is the cost is going to be in the billions and billions of dollars, and how we fund that—that’s another question. There’s no question in my mind that we can fix it. The question is will there be the public and political will to take the tough medicine? We’re going to have to take pretty aggressive action. If we don’t the consequence for all of us would be severe.
At the end of 2022, President Biden signed into law the Great Salt Lake Recovery Act, Romney’s legislation to study historic drought conditions and protect the long-term health of the Great Salt Lake. Reps. Stewart (R-UT), Owens (R-UT), and Curtis (R-UT) led the companion legislation in the House. The President also signed into law the Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act, Romney’s bipartisan legislation to facilitate an integrated regional assessment of saline lake ecosystems and fill a critical data gap that has made it nearly impossible to address a variety of problems caused by declining water levels. Rep. Moore (R-UT) led companion legislation in the House.
In August, Romney and Wilson toured the Great Salt Lake to have a firsthand look at the implications of the receding lake. Stops along their tour included Bear River inflows, an agricultural site, Great Salt Lake Brine Shrimp Cooperative, and Farmington Bay.