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Governor Signs Resolution To Restore Salt Flats

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Flamin' Mo
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Flickr Creative Commons
The Bonneville Salt Flats has been a favorite racing spot for decades, but some fear that's in danger. A new resolution draws attention to the problem.

Racing advocates for the Bonneville Salt Flats received some welcome attention for their cause on Thursday, when Utah

Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution urging the federal Bureau of Land Management to restore the Bonneville Flats International Speedway in Utah’s West Desert.

“We want to make sure that up front everybody understands that this is more than just for racing,” Louise Noeth, an author, photographer and spokesman for the advocacy group, Save the Salt. “This is a national treasure for everyone to enjoy.”

Speed Week racing events have been cancelled for two years in a row. Racers contend the salt crust’s shrinking and thinning from potash mining. They blame BLM mismanagement.

But the agency and scientists say the problem’s more complex than mining, racing, geography or weather alone.

Either way, Noeth says she’s happy to see the high-level attention the salt flats are getting -- even if there’s no teeth in the resolution or funding.

“Essentially what the land speed racing community got,” she says, “was a love letter from the people and the leadership and the administration of the state of Utah.”

Noeth says the group wants to find a way to retire idle potash leases. Her group sees that as the best way to start reversing the ruin of the iconic and awe-inspiring resource.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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