Save the Salt: Bonneville Salt Flats disappearing

In an urgent SEMA Action Network (SAN) alert, we learned the potential fate of the famed Bonneville Salt Flats.

The history of the Bonneville Salt Flats is well known. Since 1914, racers have gone to Utah to set land speed records and achieve personal best times. In addition to its professional racing programs, Bonneville remains at the heart of every racer’s dreams. For decades, the Salt Flats have decreased in size, strength and thickness because salt has been removed by an adjoining potash mining operation.

Preservation of the Salt Flats is under the authority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM has conducted multiple studies to confirm that salt is being removed and not adequately replaced by the mining operation. However, SAN notes, the BLM has failed to stop the destruction and institute a permanent solution.

Originally 96,000 acres in size, the Salt Flats are now about 30,000 acres. The BLM is “studying” the problem — again — and set to issue an “environmental assessment.” The assessment must call for a permanent salt replenishment program. SAN urges you to Contact BLM Director Robert Abbey and demand that he protect the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) is central to the history of motorsports. Scores of world land speed records have been set on the Flats. The area is a “National Landmark” and an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern.”  The BLM is responsible for protecting lands that have these two designations.

The SEMA Action Netowrk is seeking an assurance from the BLM that the upcoming Environmental Assessment will require the mining operator to implement a permanent salt replenishment program, that will require that salt be replenished with the same or more salt than is removed from the mining operation.

The salt must be of the same or better quality, and the replenishment program must occur over a period of many months so the salt is dispensed throughout the BSF basin and the underground aquifer is replenished.

No salt should be removed from the BSF region for commercial sale.

The program must be permanent and verifiable.

DON’T DELAY! Please contact the Bureau of Land Management Director (contact information below) to urge a permanent solution for protecting the Bonneville Salt Flats! (Please e-mail a copy of your letters to Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.)

The Honorable Robert Abbey
Director, Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Department of the Interior
e-mail: director@blm.gov
fax: 202-208-5242

For more information about the SEMA Action Network, visit www.sema.org.

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