FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake's archived advocacy issues can be accessed below.

Kennecott Withdrawal Win for Air Quality

Kennecott Withdrawal Win for Air Quality

Air quality advocates are expressing their appreciation this week for the recent news that Kennecott Copper has abandoned its plans to construct a new rock crusher plant as part of the mine's overall expansion effort.

Press Release - Kennecott Withdrawal Win for Air Quality

Why is Utah Fast-Tracking the Permit for a Massive Expansion of Kennecott's Tailings Impoundment

Why is Utah Fast-Tracking the Permit for a Massive Expansion of Kennecott's Tailings Impoundment?

The Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) has issued a draft modification for the Ground Water Discharge Permit (UGW350011) for the proposed expansion of the Kennecott Utah Copper Tailings Impoundment. Public comments are due August 12, 2013. The conservation community has a number of concerns about the adequacy and the timing of this proposed permit and is calling on DWQ to withdraw the draft permit until sufficient information is available to fully inform the permitting process and the public.

DWQ’s proposed approval now of this permit modification is premature. Approval of the enlarged footprint of the Tailings Impoundment is still under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and it is likely that the Corps will require changes to that proposal which would make this permit modification moot. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project will not be issued by the Corps until sometime next year, with a Final EIS unlikely until late 2014 or 2015. Both DWQ’s decision and the public comments on that decision should be informed by information produced by the EIS.

The proposed expansion is a massive project requiring several additional major, time-consuming approvals, including permission to realign four miles of the Union Pacific railroad tracks and to build an overpass bridge along 7200 West. The groundwater permit modification is not urgent.

DWQ admits that arsenic levels in the shallow groundwater have exceeded water quality standards, but refuses to consider whether the arsenic in these aquifers is contributing to the high levels of arsenic in the Great Salt Lake’s Gilbert Bay. There is no quantification of the level of arsenic pollution cased by the Tailings Impoundment or historic operations in the area – nor any plans to ascertain those levels.

DWQ makes unsubstantiated assertions that there will be no significant degradation of groundwater quality without defining what that means or suggesting any plans to prevent further degradation. DWQ admits that the weight of the Tailings Impoundment (at over 290 feet high!) will cause movement of waters in the tailings through the Bonneville Clay layer into the underlying aquifers.

DWQ makes unjustified assertions that the passive use of the Bonneville Clay layer as a liner constitutes “Best Available Technology” for minimizing discharges of pollutants, thus exempting Kennecott from installing additional liners under the expansion. This despite knowing that the clay is thin in some locations and missing in others, and that contamination of groundwater has occurred.

There are significant questions whether the waste streams authorized under this permit for placement in the Tailings Impoundment are exempt from treatment as hazardous waste (under RCRA).

There are questions whether there will be adequate measures put into place to prevent acidification of the tailings materials long term and after KUC’s mining ceases.

DWQ should wait until the completion of the EIS process - there is no reason for DWQ to issue approval of this permit at this time.

Remember the Legacy Highway? Here We Go Again!

Remember the Legacy Highway? Here We Go Again!

UDOT is proposing to build a $600M+ freeway through West Davis and Weber Counties. The high speed 4 lane elevated freeway will cut through neighborhoods, family farms, wildlife habitat and wetlands while increasing vehicle miles traveled, exacerbate poor air quality conditions, impact water quality, and change the landscape forever.

Attend public hearings on the proposed West Davis Freeway and let your voice be heard.

Written Public Comments are being accepted until August 23.
Review the DEIS -


Public Open Houses 4 to 8 p.m. each evening - Public Hearings 6 to 9 p.m. each evening

Tuesday, June 11

Legacy Events Center

151 South 1100 West


Wednesday, June 12

West Point Jr. High

2775 West 550 North

West Point

Thursday, June 13

Freedom Elementary

4555 West 5500 South


Read on:

Opinion by Salt Lake Tribune

A Shared Solution for Future Livability and Mobility in West Davis and Weber Counties: An Alternative to the West Davis Freeway

West Davis Freeway Talking Points

Highway to Hell Salt Lake Tribune Article

West Davis Corridor Hearing Deseret News Article

Protesting the West Davis Corridor KSL

Hundreds pack meeting Fox News

Hundreds Protest Standard Examiner


Why We Care

  • The Great Salt Lake has a unique character and, when one becomes acquainted with her, a well-developed personality. She moves and has moods, she sleeps and she wakes. Like any new friend, one can become attached quickly, but will need an entire lifetime to come to know her intimately.

    Rob Kent de Grey, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant