Gov. Cox responds to national attention on Utah drought

Jul 7, 2022, 2:24 PM
A man walking the Great Salt Lake on an area that has dried up due to drought....
Xander Allred carries a paddleboard back to his car at the Great Salt Lake State Park in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 10, 2022. Photo credit: Laura Seitz/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — With recent national attention turned to the Utah drought, Gov. Spencer Cox responded to criticism on Wednesday by pointing out what steps the state has taken to manage the drought.

National attention on the Utah drought

Comedian John Oliver had a recent segment on his show “Last Week Tonight” focused on how states are responding to the drought in the West.

“But unfortunately, not everyone is taking it [the drought] that seriously, with the worst example being Utah,” Oliver said during the segment.

Oliver drew attention to St. George’s water usage, pointing out the many golf courses located in the city. The segment also touched on the Lake Powell water pipeline and Gov. Cox’s 2021 video, in which he encouraged Utahns to join him in praying for rain.

And, at the beginning of June, a New York Times article focused on the drying of the Great Salt Lake put national attention on the state drought.

Utah State Representative Joel Ferry was quoted in the article, saying that Utah is facing an “environmental nuclear bomb.”

Cox responds to drought criticism

In response to both pieces, Cox took to Twitter to say that the Times and Oliver failed to research and report on the positive steps Utah has taken in terms of water conservation.

In a series of tweets, Cox said legislative leaders have hosted conferences with experts to study the Great Salt Lake and its solutions. He also pointed out that Rep. Ferry, who the Times interviewed for its piece, would be the new director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

Cox also pointed to bills passed this year that encouraged individuals to conserve and created a $40 million trust to increase water for the Great Salt Lake and improve the lake’s habitat.

But, Cox added, “there’s much more happening and much more to do.”

The governor said to expect more bills and actions aimed at the Great Salt Lake and water conservation.

Related: The Great Salt Lake water level reaches a historic low as Utah continues to face extreme drought

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Gov. Cox responds to national attention on Utah drought