During the 2018 General Session, the Utah Legislature staged a surprise land grab of Salt Lake City’s North West Quadrant, 28,000 acres of largely undeveloped land in Great Salt Lake marshes near the airport.
Without holding public hearings or even warning City government what they were up to, the Utah Legislature passed a bill to create an unelected “Inland Port Authority,” overriding Salt Lake City’s own master plan for the area.
The inland port law limits environmental regulation of hazardous “natural resources” (like coal) and raises deep concerns about increased air pollution and other environmental impacts from a massive new industrialized area near the city.
The Great Salt Lake ecosystem is already under serious threat from the cumulative effect of many projects happening all at the same time: the West Davis Corridor freeway near Farmington Bay, a proposed new landfill on Promontory Point, construction of the prison and airport in the North West Quadrant, and de-watering the Bear River due to the Bear River Project (220,000 acre/feet) and a water grab of Bear Lake runoff (400,000 acre/feet).
Citizen groups, including the Audubon Society and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, are working to oppose inland port development or, as a last resort, to make sure public comment and environmental impact assessment is part of development.
Salt Lake City government has added a Northwest Quadrant website for updated information. You can also stay updated via the Facebook page “Community Coalition for Inland Port Reform” associated with the Center for Biological Diversity.