Bill regarding a controversial, failed Utah Lake project advances

Feb 19, 2024, 9:11 AM | Updated: 11:09 am

A photo taken on the Saratoga Springs shore of Utah Lake on August 21, 2021. State lawmakers are co...

A photo taken on the Saratoga Springs shore of Utah Lake on August 21, 2021. State lawmakers are considering a bill that seeks to improve Utah Lake and get more water into Great Salt Lake. (Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

(Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Senate Committee unanimously supported legislation that seeks to undo a 2018 law that helped clear the way for a controversial project on Utah Lake.

In 2017, Lake Restoration Solutions submitted a proposal to dredge and build islands on Utah Lake. The goal of the project was to restore the lake, per a previous statement. 

During the 2018 General Legislative Session, then-Representative Mike McKell (R-Spanish Fork) sponsored a bill to help clear the way for the project. It was eventually signed into law. 

Six years later, McKell, who is now a Senator is pushing a new bill that would repeal the 2018 law.

“I think we need a fresh start and this is a way to do that,” Mckell told the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee on Friday.

The 2018 law created the Utah Lake Restorations Act. The act supported the idea of a private entity undertaking the restoration, namely because there wasn’t enough public funding to do it. While leaders still want to help Utah Lake, McKell said they are now going, “back to the drawing board.”

Helping Utah Lake has been a decades-long discussion. Most notably, the lake struggles with toxic algal blooms and is hampered by invasive plants and carp. 

LRS’ project got immense backlash from many in the community and scientists.

The backlash included a pair of lawsuits, one filed by BYU Ecology Professor Ben Abbott and another filed against Abbott by LRS. Abbott opposed the LRS plan and was sued by the company years after they submitted their proposal.

The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands eventually canceled LRS’ application in 2022. LRS has since dissolved after declaring bankruptcy the following year.

The committee unanimously passed the new bill. However, it still has to clear the full Senate and House before arriving on the governor’s desk before midnight on March 1.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


sunshine on cherry blossoms shown. Spring weather...

Peter Johnston

Spring weather slowing melt of snowpack, and that’s good

The cooler upcoming spring weather will slow the melt of Utah's snowpack and local meteorologists say that is good.

8 minutes ago

Water releases are being conducted at Panguitch Lake dam in order to prevent a big crack from from ...

Peter Johnston

100 high-hazard dams remain a risk across Utah, assistant state engineer says

Following the discovery of a large crack in the Panguitch Lake Dam, one expert said that 100 other dams pose a high risk.

21 hours ago

Hikers explore a trail, hiking is good for health, be it mental or physical...

Tim Hughes

Take a hike, it’s good for your health

As the weather warms up, consider hiking for your health. Research shows it provides not just physical benefits, but mental ones too.

22 hours ago

A snow-dusted peak in the Manti-La Sal National Forest...

Mariah Maynes

Manti-La Sal National Forest officials announce prescribed burns

Forest fire officials announced three prescribed burns for areas within the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

23 hours ago

A hiker walks along the trail on Ensign Peak, Search and Rescue teams issue reminder about hiking s...

Alexandrea Bonilla and Emma Keddington

Search and Rescue teams issue reminder about hiking safety

Search and Rescue teams are reminding hikers about safety when hiking after a hiker got lost this weekend.

1 day ago

Volunteers gather at Pedal and Pick at Jordan Park in Salt Lake City to celebrate earth day...

Mariah Maynes

How did April 22 become Earth Day?

20 million Americans took part in the first Earth Day in 1970. Nowadays, the event is a global affair.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Bill regarding a controversial, failed Utah Lake project advances