Governor Cox is optimistic about the future of the Great Salt Lake, air quality and job growth

LOGAN, Utah — Governor Spencer Cox gave an optimistic view of the effort to save the Great Salt Lake during a speech at Utah State University on Thursday.

“I’m less worried about the Great Salt Lake now than I was a year ago,” Cox said.

The governor said it was thanks to the water conservation efforts of everyday Utahns and funding from lawmakers to find ways to raise the lake’s level.

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

Cox said lawmakers realized the urgent need to act on the shrinking lake after it was flown over by helicopter during the last legislative session.

The governor told the Washington Post in August that he had approved twelve laws aimed at preserving the Great Salt Lake and had allocated $500 million for water conservation.

Governor Cox also said environmental groups had been given $40 million to find ways to get more water into the lake.

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

Governor Cox also raised other concerns about air quality and whether it’s affecting Utah’s economy.

“Has this had an impact on our economy? Absolutely not, our economy couldn’t be warmer,” Governor 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 in air quality over the past decade and a half. “Our air is about…40% cleaner than it was just fifteen years ago…and that’s despite the addition of a million people to this [time]”, Cox said.

Governor 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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