Sarah Ause, Deseret Morning News
HEAL Utah protesters Heidi Gillette, left, and Michelle Bartlett stand outside the Jazz's EnergySolutions Arena.

The recent name change of the Delta Center to the EnergySolutions Arena has some people fired up.

More than three dozen supporters of Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah braved sub-freezing temperatures and gathered at the corners of the home of the Utah Jazz Wednesday night to protest the new name. Some protestors brandished signs bearing slogans such as "Waste Place," "JazzMat," "Melta Center" and "Glow Dome," among others.

"The biggest news coming out of Utah right now is the trial for some polygamist and the new name for where the Utah Jazz play. We come out sounding like a backwards state with that kind of P.R.," said Vanessa Pierce, director of HEAL Utah. "It really doesn't reflect Utah's values."

Pierce and other supporters were handing out "radioactive green" glow-sticks and collecting signatures for a petition that will be given to Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller later this week. More than 200 signatures have been collected so far and 500 glow sticks were said to be waving inside the arena during the game.

"I appreciate what Larry Miller has done for the state," said Brad Parker, a local attorney with Parker and McConkie who does pro bono work for HEAL. "We're asking him to do the hard thing but the right thing here."

HEAL supporters want Miller to find a new name, perhaps using "brands and goods that people use or tend to be looked at as useful," Pierce said.

Opposition has been in full force ever since Nov. 21, when Miller announced the name change.

The Utah Jazz have played under the Delta name since 1991, when the building was completed. Delta's 10-year contract with the Utah Jazz carried a five-year option, which expired Sept. 30.

EnergySolutions, a Salt Lake-based company, formerly known as Envirocare, disposes of low-level radioactive and hazardous waste in Tooele County. They bought the naming rights from Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment for undisclosed millions this year.

Pierce and Parker both agree that EnergySolutions' history has bad connotations for the state and its basketball team.

"EnergySolutions is a company with a worrisome history and somewhat disturbing past," Parker said. "They're trying to piggyback on (Miller's) good will and his good name. They're really giving him an extreme makeover."

Heidi Gillette and her husband vowed not to attend any Jazz games until the name is changed.

"We do not want to be known as the dumping ground for the nation," she said. "It gives us negative attention and it's a negative image of our state."

Miller has made no mention of entertaining another name change, but HEAL supporters hope he reconsiders before the damage, they say, is irreversible.


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