March 12, 2020

Box Elder County deal to use Allos' landfill draws fire from environmental group

By TIM VANDENACK Standard-Examiner

A contract giving Box Elder County authority to use the Allos Environmental landfill abutting the Great Salt Lake is drawing fire from the environmental group that has long lobbied against the facility.

Box Elder County commissioners approved a contract with Allos last December giving the county authority to use Allos’ Promontory Point landfill if an emergency prevents use of the county’s Little Mountain landfill. Friends of Great Salt Lake responded last week, filing a petition with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, saying the contract isn’t valid and asking that it be reviewed.

It’s yet another sally in the ongoing tug-of-war over the future of the Promontory Point landfill, touted as a state-of-the-art facility by Allos but decried as a potential threat to the Great Salt Lake by its critics. The simmering debate bears on the landfill’s future — the deal with Box Elder County is apparently the first that actually contemplates use of Promontory Point — and the future of development around the Great Salt Lake.

“It’s a very, very well-designed and constructed facility,” said Box Elder County Commissioner Jeff Scott, part of the contingent that approved the deal with Allos. Permission to use the landfill is “a stopgap measure,” he said, in the event an earthquake, flood or some other sort of disaster prevents use of the Little Mountain facility. Allos officials had approached the county on the matter, he said, leading to the deal.

Lynn de Freitas, executive director of Friends of Great Salt Lake, though, said the Dec. 4 deal, vaguely worded in her view, isn’t valid and shouldn’t have received a stamp of approval from UDEQ officials. The group says the landfill poses a threat to the Great Salt Lake in the event of a leak and has lobbied against its use. Promontory Point sits on the Box Elder County peninsula that divides the main body of the Great Salt Lake from Bear River Bay and Willard Bay.

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