IF YOU WANT TO HELP “RESTORE BONNEVILLE” READ THIS NOW
The effort to save the Bonneville Salt Flats has reached a critical stage, as the State of Utah is in the process of evaluating whether to fund the “Restore Bonneville” program through its Fiscal Year 2020 budget. It is imperative that Utah lawmakers understand the importance of funding this important project, and a few minutes of your time may help us to get a much-needed win for the salt flats. We respectfully request that you email a letter to Members of the Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee asking the State of Utah to fund a “Restore Bonneville” program. Here is background information about the program along with instructions for sending an email.
Please email a letter to Members of the Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee.
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Please personalize the message with your own involvement with Bonneville. Below is a sample letter followed by potential talking points. Feel free to incorporate as appropriate.
You can send an email or, better yet, include on letterhead and email as a PDF.
Please send your email ASAP but no later than by Feb. 22nd
In your capacity as a member of the Utah House of Representatives’ Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee, I am writing to support a February 5, 2019 request made by Rep. Steve Handy that Utah fund $5 million for a state “Restore Bonneville” program. The money would leverage an additional $45 million from the federal government and approximately $2.5 million from the racing community.
The Restore Bonneville program would implement H.C.R. 8, a resolution sponsored by Rep. Handy and Sen. Peter Knudson in 2016 to support restoration of the Bonneville Salt Flats. The resolution was unanimously passed by the Utah House and Senate and signed by Governor Herbert.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are a unique land formation that bring visitors from around the world to Utah. For racers, the surface is unequaled. The hard salt crust is perfect for both speed and safety.
Bonneville is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and deemed an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Until 1997, salt removed from Bonneville for potash processing under leases issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was not replaced. Since that time, the mining company has pumped salt brine onto Bonneville.
The racing community represented by the Save the Salt Coalition, the Utah Alliance and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) have worked with Utah lawmakers and regulators, including the U.S. Congressional delegation, along with the BLM and Intrepid Potash, Inc. to create the Restore Bonneville program. The program will dramatically increase the volume of salt being pumped onto the Bonneville Salt Flats by Intrepid from the current levels of 0.6 million tons/year or less to about 1.5 million tons/year. As a result, the racing venue will gradually expand from its current length of about 8 miles toward with the goal of reaching the original 13-mile racing venue.
Thank you again for your support for restoring the Bonneville Salt Flats.
NOTE: Feel free to personalize the email. For example, discuss how you have raced at Bonneville or been a spectator. Mention how you and friends have travelled to Wendover, spent money on hotel rooms, airline tickets, etc. Mention any additional time spent in Utah to visit Salt Lake City, Park City, Moab, Canyonlands, St. George, Zion, etc. This translates into additional economic benefits for the state and local communities.
Sample Bonneville Salt Flats Talking Points
[Pick and choose, mix and match]
- Many Bonneville racers and spectators come to Utah before or after the racing events to enjoy the spectacular beauty offered throughout the state, from Salt Lake City to the mountains, canyons and red rock country.The state and local communities benefit from the dollars spent in hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
- When we come to race on the salt flats, many of us patronize businesses in the Salt Lake City area, buying parts and services to fix our race vehicles.
- I have raced at Bonneville since… [or] I have attended Speed Week since…. [relay personal information about the importance of Bonneville to you]
- The future of land speed racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats is in jeopardy, as a decrease in the size and thickness of the flats has resulted in the cancellation of races and fewer international racers making the pilgrimage each year. The State of Utah must take the lead in restoring this legendary race venue!
- The Salt Flats are a unique geologic formation, which has served as the backdrop for movies, commercials and photos, and is a magnet for tourists. However, Bonneville is most well-known for its role in the history of motorsports, having served as a preeminent race venue until recent years.
- The salt flats are a national treasure and have been hallowed grounds for motorsports enthusiasts since 1914, when racers discovered that it was the perfect surface for keeping tires cool while setting land speed records.
- While hundreds of records have been set and broken in a variety of automotive classes, the Bonneville Salt Flats are disappearing:
- The surface crust is thinning, and the overall size of the Flats is shrinking.
- What was once 13 miles of safe racing surface has been reduced to 8 miles or less due to the thinning of the surface crust.
- According to 1997 U.S. Geological Survey report, the maximum salt-crust thickness had declined from 7 feet in 1960 to 5.5 feet in 1988. Today, the current surface is measured in inches rather than feet.
- Racing in two opposite directions within one hour as required for world records has been abandoned.
- The beauty of Bonneville is also in jeopardy.
- A major contributor to the decline was a decision by the BLM in the 1960s to issue mining leases allowing salt brine to be legally transferred off-site for potash extraction without returning some of the salt byproduct. While historic mining activities adjacent to the BSF have contributed to the diminishment of the salt crust, it is also part of the restoration solution:
- From 1997 to 2002, the lease holder, with the approval of the BLM, created a salt brine program pumping an average of 1.2 million tons per year onto the salt flats.Studies following that pilot program confirm that the salt crust thickened and that the brine aquifer beneath the surface was also improved.
- Thanks to the current mining company, a strong pumping program is still sending salt brine to the racing area. However, the volume needs to be increased to overcome decades of neglect.
- It is imperative that the State of Utah lead the way in helping to provide funding for the infrastructure upgrades needed to pump approximately 1.5 million tons a year for at least 10 years to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats.
- Bonneville is hallowed grounds for racers around the world. Restoring this national treasure would send a powerful message to the racing community around the world: Bonneville is back and so is America.
- It’s time to restore Bonneville before it’s too late! Utah State Lawmakers need to hear from you.
Need more information? Contact Stuart Gosswein at firstname.lastname@example.org OR Louise Ann Noeth at email@example.com