DEQ denies US Magnesium’s permit for canal extensions in GSL

Great News on the Great Salt Lake front! The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has rejected the application from US Magnesium Corp to extend their canals and siphon off 100,000 gallons a minute from Great Salt Lake.

This is a clear win for all the environmental groups (including UPHE) that fought against the application. A big thank you to the hundreds of concerned residents and local experts who submitted comments. The governor’s office also recently walked back support expressed by the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office last spring.

The company was requesting the permit to extend two existing canals due to the lake’s declining levels. There are a lot of options and money on the table to save Great Salt Lake and return the lake to the healthy levels that will protect us from the “environmental nuclear bomb” Utahns are currently sitting on. One option that is not on the table, is extracting more water. 

Photo by Brandon Green on Unsplash.

Not only would extending the canals allow for extraction of water from the critically low lake, “The resulting dredged lakebed could also stifle microbialites, which are the foundation of the lake’s food web, and mix toxic material into the water column,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. 

Magnesium Corp will likely reapply, and we will continue to need support on this pressing issue to help conserve water and restore Great Salt Lake. For a state agency operating under the Governor’s office to reject the influence of a powerful corporation is a breath of fresh air, figuratively and literally.

Read the Salt Lake Tribune’s coverage here.