Is the Inland Port an example of governmental overreach?
Will the Inland Port open a floodgate of corruption?
Will the Inland Port be an ecological disaster for the Great Salt Lake and ruinous to valley air quality?
Deeda Seed’s Side of the Story
Questions. So many questions. Deeda Seed, former city council person who is currently with the Center for Biological Diversity, points out there are so few answers because of the haste and speed with which the concept is being rammed forward.
She said that both the city council and the state legislature are at fault. The council in 2017 upzoned the area near the airport to light manufacturing in only 3 1/2 months while the legislature passed enabling legislation at 9:20 pm on the second to last day of the 2018 session. “There was no debate, it was just slammed through. It was arrogant and they just did it. Then Governor Herbert signed off on it,” she said.
Issues for Quality of Life
It seems that nobody bothered to consider the environmental impact. Deeda said there are 10 million birds from 300 species that depend on the Great Salt Lake in their migrations. Will killing off the vast mosquito population there starve them to death?
Then there is the air quality issue. Thousands of extra trucks in addition to increased air traffic would hugely increase the pollution problem. “If legislators had to live next to the port, would they have voted in favor of it?” she asked.
The port’s potential negative impact puts it at odds with the desire to portray the Wasatch region as a progressive tech center. It is also an example of massive corporate welfare, with nearly $70 million in tax breaks available for developers. As for the jobs? Deeda said that an Illinois city that bought into an inland port idea saw only the creation of low-paying “perma-temp” jobs.
There are lawsuits that have been filed against the port and Deeda said the issue will likely be decided by the Utah Supreme court. In the meantime, concerned citizens can contact the Stop the Polluting Port coalition. It next meets Feb 25 at the Sweet Library. But before then listen to Deeda discuss the port on the Utah Stories podcast.