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....

A photo taken on the Saratoga Springs shore of Utah Lake on August 21, 2021. The Utah Lake Authority is hosting "planting parties" to replace an invasive plant species with native vegetation. (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.


A smokejumper parachuting to help contain the Speirs wildfire, which started Saturday night....

Emma Keddington

Speirs wildfire burning near Flaming Gorge, caused by lightning

A lightning strike ignited the Speirs wildfire Saturday night. The fire is currently 0% contained, but hasn't caused evacuations.

4 hours ago

The state law doesn't require people of all ages to wear a life jacket while they’re out in the w...

Michelle Lee

Be mindful of these summer water safety tips

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Cassidy Hadden, Utah Drowning Prevention Coalition Chair of 2024, to learn water safety tips.

11 hours ago

The Unified Fire Authority received a call on Saturday about a helicopter having to emergency land ...

Kennedy Camarena

Helicopter emergency lands in Herriman

A helicopter pilot had to perform an emergency landing in a field in Herriman, Utah on Saturday after a mechanical failure occurred.

1 day ago

An evacuation order is in place for Shurtz Canyon and upper basin above the Graff Point Fire....

Kennedy Camarena

Evacuation order in place for Shurtz Canyon and upper basin above Graff Point Fire

The Graff Point Fire in Iron County is growing and has caused an evacuation order to be put in place in the area.

1 day ago

Utah air quality is going down and it could get worse...

Josuee Sanchez

Utah air quality is deteriorating and could get worse

Utah is lacking of good air quality due to wildfires but it is mostly because of the hot weather.

1 day ago

There’s still hope if your lawn turns brown between July and August. Once it cools down during mi...

Michelle Lee

Keep your lawn healthy with these summer lawn care tips

How is your lawn coping with the recent triple digit temperatures? If you’re seeing any yellow or brown patches, there are ways you can care for it this summer to make it green and healthy again.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

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.

Bill regarding a controversial, failed Utah Lake project advances