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Location of proposed inland port in Weber County, Utah.
Detailed map showing components of West Weber Industrial District.

The proposed Weber County Inland Port Project Areas represent an untenable trend in which environmental and public health issues are overridden by the lure of economic development.

The Weber County project, should it reach its intended dimensions, would expand over an astounding 8966 acres of land and wetlands adjacent to the Great Salt Lake (see map below).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A project of this magnitude and in this location—between the Harold S. Crane Waterfowl Management Area and the Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area—will cause tremendous harm.

 

Here's what developers are planning for the biggest area:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ecological peril we face with declining Great Salt Lake water levels and ecosystem collapse, loss of wetlands, air quality problems, population growth, and pollution demonstrate that this project is not in the public's interest and shouldn’t receive public subsidies through designation as an inland port project area.


What can you do?

If you live in Weber County

 

 

If you live outside of Weber County

 

 

 

What are some of the harms of the proposed Weber County Inland Port Project areas:
 

More harm to Great Salt Lake

 

With the proposed Weber County port so close to wetlands, wildlife refuges and the Great Salt Lake itself, we must consider the current state of this iconic but shrinking body of water.
 

  • By any measure, the lake is sick.  Due to enormous draw-downs of its water supply from the Bear River…reduced snow- and rainfall…and normal evaporation patterns,  the recession of the lake has yielded an unexpected and most undesirable gift—arsenic and mercury dust previously stuck in the lakebed that is now blowing our way.
     

  • In Tooele County, where one port site is already partially built and a second site is expected, residents in rural areas where wells are prevalent report a noticeable drop in their water table as well as decreasing water quality…factors associated with a declining lake and climate irregularities. We can expect impacts to water quality and quantity at the proposed Weber County Inland Port Project Areas
     

  • On the lake itself and among its peripheral waterfowl management areas and bird refuges, overall lake ecology is suffering.  The Great Salt Lake is a critical feeding and breeding destination, as it lies beneath the Great Pacific Flyway,  one of several North American migration routes essential to birds and to waterfowl in particular.
     

  • According to Dr. Elizabeth Gray, CEO of the National Audubon Society…”In my lifetime, North America has lost more than 3 billion birds. This is a catastrophe playing out on a planetary scale.  We are reaching a tipping point for birds, magnified by the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.”
     

  • One cannot, however, separate birds from the other ecological and economic components of the lake.  Brine shrimp are front-of-mind here.  The shrimp are not only an important industry…they’re a world-wide source of fish food for vast populations where seafood is an essential dietary component.
     

Destruction of Wetlands
 

According to geological survey maps, west Weber County is rich in wetlands. Research reveals that wetlands can actually reduce pollution by acting as  “kidneys” of the earth…storing carbon, reducing sediment and filtering water. 
 

  • As Heather Dove, as President of Great Salt Lake Audubon, stated in a recent Salt Lake Tribune column: “I continue to be ever more shocked at the staggering loss of wetlands and uplands that we face if UIPA and their various county partners are allowed to proceed with this proliferation of inland ports around and on the shores of Great Salt Lake…”
     

  • Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs.  An immense variety of species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals can be part of a wetland ecosystem. 
     

  • Wetlands can be thought of as "biological supermarkets." They provide great volumes of food that attract many animal species. These animals use wetlands for part of or all of their life-cycle. The functions of a wetland and the values of these functions to humans depend on a complex set of relationships between the wetland and the other ecosystems in the watershed.   
     

  • In the watershed, water, sediments and dissolved materials drain from higher elevations to a common low-lying outlet or basin…such as a larger stream, lake, underlying aquifer or estuary.  
     

  • UPHE President Dr. Brian Moench, put it unequivocally in a December Salt Lake Tribune editorial:  We cannot save the Great Salt Lake ecosystem if we amputate its wetlands. 
     

The proposed Weber port will clearly impinge on existing wetlands, thus reducing their inestimable value not only to Great Salt Lake ecology but to all of us living in northern Utah and beyond.

 

Dangerous Pollution
 

Pollution associated with both the construction and operation of an inland port comes from many sources.   
 

  • The grading and paving of roads, the infilling of wetlands, the trenching for water supply and sewer pipelines, the installation of power lines, the delivery of equipment and supplies for building warehouses—virtually all these processes rely on diesel-powered machinery and vehicles.  
     

  • Once infrastructure has been built and installed, additional truck and rail traffic will be generated just within the port site in order to deliver incoming cargo or transport cargo out.  
     

  • Allowing for present and future population growth…in light of current congestion along the entire I-15 corridor…and taking into account UIPA’s plans for numerous ports from Box Elder County to Utah County and points farther south, the increase in additional vehicle-based air pollution is almost inestimable.
     

  • Even today, Utah—and the Wasatch Front in particular—are often out of air quality attainment standards due to our unique regional geography as well as predictable weather patterns. 
     

  • In California, inland port warehouse districts have become known as diesel death zones.

 

Harm to Public Health
 

As an immediate corollary to pollution concerns, the very population one assumes would benefit from an inland port will actually suffer from its creation and operation.

  • Experts estimate that air pollution in Utah causes 2480 – 8000 premature deaths annually and decreases the median life expectancy by 1.1 to 3.6 years. 
     

  • Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) has published extensive documentation regarding the deleterious health effects associated with pollution in general, and with inland ports in particular.  
     

  • The proof is in the pudding.  Wind-blown dust from the Great Salt Lake, with its microscopic tidbits of toxic chemicals, will have a direct impact on everyone who breathes.   And not in a good way.  Young, old, male, female, pregnant…everyone.

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