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Letter: Decline of the Great Salt Lake – Pointing the finger

Feb 1, 2023

There is certainly concern about the decline of the Great Salt Lake. It seems every day there is a news story on TV or in printed news in Utah, nationally and internationally. On January 26, 2023 the lead story on page A1 of the Standard-Examiner: “Bills begin to be introduced the save GSL.” That story mentioned concerns at the State Legislature about “…water diversion, climate change and drought.” On page A5 there is a “national commentary” by Joe Guzzardi. He claims the main contributor to the Lake’s decline is population growth. Seems reasonable, though it is not the only contributor. What I take issue with is that after a general discussion about population growth he throws this in: “By the time the 2030 census rolls around, Utah will have more Venezuelan migrants admitted under President Biden’s immigration policies.” The rest of the paragraph mentions Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans but focuses on the latter. The paragraph ends with a warning that the Venezuelans will settle, have families, “…thereby putting more pressure on Utah’s natural resources.”

I looked for information about Venezuelan immigrants in Utah and indeed, it appears there are quite a few. However, according to a story in the DeseretNews, January 11, 2023, Venezuelans are being sent here but not as many as to New York, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Furthermore, the article says, “Utah sees a relatively small number of asylum seekers from Venezuela. Between state services, larger resettlement agencies like Catholic Community Services or the International Rescue Committee, or smaller organizations …, there are adequate resources to help migrant families who recently arrived.” So, yes, it appears Venezuelans are arriving here but are they a major contributor to the decline of the GSL as Mr. Guzzardi implies? I think not. But more important , whenever we point the finger at any ethnic, religious, or national group and blame them for a situation that has many contributing causes, we end up in trouble as a society.

Ken Freimuth



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