Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes is resigning his seat on a board overseeing the development of a controversial land-based port in northwest Salt Lake City.
Hughes raised eyebrows this month after appointing himself to the newly formed 11-member Inland Port Authority board. The Salt Lake Tribune later reported that the Republican leader owned property within five miles of the port's boundaries, prohibited under the legislation that created the board.
At the time, Hughes defended his property holdings to the Tribune but on Tuesday announced that he would appoint Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, to serve in his place.
— Utah House of Reps (@UtahReps) June 26, 2018
Gov. Gary Herbert, who is a vocal supporter of the inland port, tweeted that he respected Hughes' decision to step aside.
Another appointee to the board, Sen. Don Ipson, R-St. George, had earlier stepped down over conflicts of interest.
The state hopes to turn 20,000 acres of sparsely developed land in Salt Lake's northwest quadrant into a foreign trade zone connecting imports and exports. The project has drawn strong objections from some Salt Lake City officials and residents over its implementation.
The Inland Port Authority has had a rocky start so far. The body held its first meeting June 18 but was unable to conduct any business as several members had not yet filled out conflict-of-interest disclosures.
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) June 26, 2018