SEMA eNews Vol. 18, No. 38, September 17, 2015

Stakeholders Meet to Discuss Fate of Bonneville Salt Flats

  Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats has been in the spotlight following cancellation this year of four major racing events due to weather and deteriorating salt conditions.
   

By Stuart Gosswein
 
The Save the Salt Coalition and Utah Alliance met with a variety of stakeholder groups on September 14 at the Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) in Utah to discuss potential solutions for restoring the historic racing venue. The Save the Salt Coalition is an international group of businesses and organizations, including SEMA, with a vested interest in the BSF. The Utah Alliance provides expertise and connections at the state and local level. Major land speed race sanctioning organizations are members of both groups. The two groups have partnered on the shared mission of restoring the BSF as the premier venue for land speed racing.    
 
The BSF has been in the spotlight following cancellation this year of four major racing events due to weather and deteriorating salt conditions. In response, the Utah Alliance organized a tour of the area with government officials who oversee the BSF, mine operators, geologists, engineers, and other stakeholder groups. The tour allowed the parties to then engage in follow-up discussions and begin identifying tangible restoration actions.
 
"Everyone displayed a willingness to come together to find a solution," said Dennis Sullivan, Chairman of the Utah Alliance. "There was a mutual respect demonstrated among the public agencies, private entities and racers. We all need to learn more from each other as we all have specific observations and experiences that need to be combined with scientific data to provide a viable way forward."

The Utah Alliance and Save the Salt Coalition will next present a position statement to the stakeholders identifying a number of short- and long-term actions to be considered.  Priority will be given to determine how to expand brine pumping.

"Although concerns about deterioration at Bonneville have existed for decades, today marked the first time officials representing government, industry and racers sat at the same table to discuss solutions," said Doug Evans, Chairman of the Save the Salt Coalition.  "We are finally at the starting line in the race to save Bonneville."

The groups indicated that no quick fixes existed to resolve issues related to the condition of the salt.  However, they believe that given the high level of cooperation, the historic, internationally famous speedway will eventually be restored to safe racing conditions.

If you have any questions, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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