UTAH DROUGHT

Senate passes Romney-sponsored bill to fund Great Salt Lake study

Dec 2, 2022, 9:00 AM | Updated: Sep 11, 2023, 11:13 am

Low water is pictured at the Great Salt Lake and a new bill is aiming to study the lake...

Low water levels are pictured in the Great Salt Lake near Tooele County on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would provide funding to study the Great Salt Lake and other saline lakes in the West sailed through the U.S. Senate this week. 

The bill is called the Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act. Sen. Mitt Romney, along with other senators from the West, sponsored the bill.

It passed through the Senate on Wednesday with a unanimous vote.

The bill would provide $5 million a year to the U.S. Geological Survey to study the Great Salt Lake and other saline lakes in the West such as Mono Lake in California and Lake Albert in Oregon.

Millions of migrating birds use saline lakes in the West as habitats, but drought and the diversion of water upstream threaten several of the lakes.

In a press release about the bill’s passage, Romney said the scientific study of the Great Salt Lake is key to saving it.

Romney also said the study will “establish a scientific foundation” for policy decisions on those ecosystems.

A similar bill involving the Great Salt Lake has already passed the House, sponsored by Rep. Blake Moore. A conference committee will have to work out differences between the two bills.

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Senate passes Romney-sponsored bill to fund Great Salt Lake study