UTAH

Gov. Cox feels optimistic about the future of The Great Salt Lake, air quality and job growth

Sep 2, 2022, 9:30 AM
Gov. Spencer Cox is pictured....
Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at the PBS Utah Governor’s Monthly News Conference at the Eccles Broadcast Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah- Gov. Spencer Cox gave an optimistic outlook on the effort to save The Great Salt Lake while speaking at Utah State University on Thursday.

“I am less worried about The Great Salt Lake right now than I was a year ago,” Cox said.

The governor said this is thanks to water conservation efforts of everyday Utahns and funding from lawmakers aimed at finding ways to raise the lake level.

“I thought it would take us five to six years to get the general public to grasp the severity of [the] drought…specifically [in regards to] The Great Salt Lake…and maybe more importantly the Legislature,” Cox said. “To my pleasant surprise, it took about six months.”

Cox said lawmakers realized the dire need to act on the shrinking lake after flying over via helicopter during the last legislative session.

The governor told The Washington Post in August he’s signed off on twelve laws that aim to preserve The Great Salt Lake and has allocated $500 million for water conservation.

Gov. Cox also said environmental groups have received $40 million to find ways to get more water into the lake.

Overall, the governor maintained a positive outlook about saving the lake. “We did set a record this year for the lowest levels of the lake, but, we’re only one foot below the [previous] record that was set in 1964.”

Gov. Cox also touched on other concerns about air quality and if it’s affecting Utah’s economy.

“Has it impacted our economy? Absolutely not, our economy could not be any hotter,” Gov. Cox said. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s still bad…but at this point…we have the fastest growing economy in the country.”

The governor touted the improvement of air quality over the last decade and a half. “Our air is about… 40-percent cleaner than it was just fifteen years ago…and that’s despite adding a million people in that [time],” Cox said.

Gov. Cox also said Utah was one of the few states to have more jobs since February 2020 and noted that Utah had the lowest unemployment rate at 2%.

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Gov. Cox feels optimistic about the future of The Great Salt Lake, air quality and job growth