Because state and county officials cannot agree on the wording of proposed legislation to create a Utah Lake Advisory Council, local legislators and county officials say they will push to have the bill defeated.
The Division of State Lands and Forestry drafted an amendment to a bill passed several years ago that established the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council. The amendment, if passed, would establish the Utah Lake Advisory Council.Most local officials say they support the concept of a Utah Lake Advisory Council, but only if it gives equal power to local government. They said the proposed legislation would not give Utah County adequate representation.
"There needs to be balance and there needs to be fairness," Herbert said.
Provo Mayor Joseph Jenkins, Orem Mayor Blaine Willes and Commissioner Malcolm Beck met a few weeks ago to rewrite the amendment so Utah County would be better represented on the council. They want to change the amendment's wording that says the directors of five state agencies under the Department of Natural Resources would serve on the council. Officials prefer that the wording say representatives from the board, not directors.
"It's a matter of having five people on the board who answer to the same person," Herbert said.
However, Division of State Lands and Forestry officials were unwilling to change the wording, even though the Great Salt Lake Advisory Board includes representatives and not directors. For that reason, and because the amendment does not clearly state whether local officials would be required to implement demands from state officials, the amendment has lost the support of local legislators.
"It appears that the state is inflexible on a couple of items that we feel it ought to compromise on," Herbert said. "No bill is better than having this bill."
This is the third attempt to pass a bill that would create a Utah Lake Advisory Council. Herbert said that because state officials are the ones pushing for a lake advisory council, they may want to begin working on a new version soon.
"If the state feels like they need something like this, then they may want to get started a little sooner to come up with something we can all feel comfortable with," he said.