Great Salt Lake Minerals is scaling back its expansion plans along the eastern and western shores of the lake – and environmentalists are applauding.
In 2009, Great Salt Lake Minerals asked the Army Corps of Engineers to approve a 91-thousand acre expansion of its evaporation ponds. Today it submitted a new application asking for just 52-thousand acres. Lynn DeFreitas with Friends of the Great Salt Lake says the new plan avoids some critical wildlife habitat.
“The best news of this proposal is that they are not going to expand in Bear River Bay, which is what they had originally proposed," DeFreitas told KUER.
The company has also dropped its request for an additional 350-thousand acre-feet of water from the lake.
Instead, it’s acquired some existing ponds west of the lake and it will eventually build some new ones at the end of Promontory Point. Company spokesperson Dave Hyams says the new plan will still let the company produce more of its most profitable product, sulfate of potash.
“By increasing the ponds on the west side of the lake," Hyams said, "we’ll be able to have more tons total on both sides – more tons from the west side going to the east and more tons produced from the east.”
DeFreitas says they haven’t seen all the details yet, but they’re glad the company was willing to listen and revise its overall plan.