EnviroNews: Report documents Inland Port concerns

By Amy Brunvand

A new report from Envision Utah uncovers deep citizen concern about negative environmental impacts from large-scale industrial inland port development within the boundaries of Salt Lake City.

The public is particularly worried about harm to air quality from increased traffic and industrialization, and harm to wildlife and water quality in the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.

Another key issue is “distrust among the public and stakeholders stemming from a perceived lack of transparency from the UIPA [Utah Inland Port Authority].”

In fact, the UIPA bill was passed at the tail end of the 2018 General Session as a surprise attack on Salt Lake City with little discussion and no public hearings. The public engagement meetings held by Envision Utah in February 2019 were the first opportunity for the public to comment on the Inland Port.

After the UIPA was formed, House Speaker Greg Hughes initially appointed himself as a member, but immediately had to step down due to conflict of interest since he owns property within the Inland Port zone.

Hughes, who was recently seen leading a pro-Trump anti-impeachment rally at the office of Representative Ben McAdams, is currently raising money for his “Hughes Leadership PAC” intending to run for governor of Utah.

Construction has already begun in the Inland Port area even though the current UIPA still has done no comprehensive analysis of impacts to air quality, water quality and wildlife habitat.

The Envision Utah report pooh-poohs public concerns that the port will be used for processing, storage and transport of fossil fuels even though the enabling legislation specifically states “the transporting, unloading, loading, transfer, or temporary storage of natural resources may not be prohibited on the authority jurisdictional land.”

Inland Port Authority Public Engagement Report: bit.ly/2IT7lyx


This article was originally published on November 6, 2019.