SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 33, August 16, 2012

Feds Approve SEMA-Endorsed Salt Replenishment Program for Bonneville Salt Flats

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a final Environmental Assessment (EA) for replenishing salt to the Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) as potash is mined on adjoining lands. The BLM adopted the approach recommended by SEMA and other organizations that are members of the “Save the Salt Coalition.” It requires a permanent replenishment program that guarantees the same quantity and quality of salt be returned to the BSF as is removed under an existing potash mining lease agreement. 

The mining company, Intrepid Potash–Wendover LLC, has already exceeded the EA requirements, pumping nearly 1 million tons of salt onto the BSF over the past two years without removing any salt from the same area. SEMA and the Coalition are now pursuing a public fundraising campaign to go beyond "replenishment" so that the BSF can be "restored" with millions of tons of additional salt necessary to achieve the goal. All contributions will be used to purchase salt and/or the equipment necessary to pump, transport and lay down the salt.

The BSF is a national landmark under the jurisdiction of the BLM. Thousands of speed records have been set at this rare, unique geological site over the past 100 years. Originally 96,000 acres in size, the BSF has shrunk to about 30,000 acres from mining, which, until recently, did not include a salt return after the potash was removed. In addition to finalizing the EA, the BLM renewed for another 20 years a Public Land Order intended to protect the 30,000 acres BSF from direct mining or other activities that could threaten the land.

For additional information, contact Stuart Gosswein.

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