A healthy majority of the $5.35 million settlement from Chevron after diesel fuel spilled last March into a marsh near the park needs to go to Willard Bay. After all, the park suffered from the oil spill, with a campground and marina closed for four months.
Fortunately, there is an organized effort to push for Willard Bay to get the lion's share of the settlement. Friends of Willard Bay State Park have outlined a list of project upgrades for the park. The organization's chief goal is to make sure the Utah Legislature doesn't siphon off more than half of the settlement funds -- $3.13 million -- for other projects.
Unfortunately, that's a real possibility. The settlement agreement reads "Future mitigation projects developed by the director may be developed and implemented at Willard Bay State Park or other properties within the state ..."
The term "... other properties within the state ..." could be just the rationale Utah pols need to take away funding that should benefit Willard Bay and Northern Utah. Fortunately, Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, intends to make sure that Willard Bay has a strong representative in the Legislature. Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, Utah's House Majority Leader, says he wants to make sure that Willard Bay's needs are met before funds go anywhere else. We'll be keeping an eye on our Top of Utah pols to make sure they stand behind Willard Bay and protect the settlement funds.
Willard Bay suffered as a result of negligence. The settlement was for its needs, repairs and upgrades. The settlement is due to be finalized by Utah's Water Quality Board by late January, perhaps as early as Jan. 22.
The public comment period for the settlement proposals continues until Thursday.
The settlement can be read at http://www.deq.utah.gov/locations/willardbay/docs/12Dec/DraftChevronSett.... Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.