William E. Fisher: Time to pull the plug on the Utah inland port

Focus on building a clean and modern Point of the Mountain instead.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Trucks carrying shipping containers move in and out of the Union Pacific intermodal terminal at a steady pace, west of Salt Lake City. Directly south is the future site of the transloading facility, which will be the heart of the inland port, as seen on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.

The Utah inland port, if completed, will cause a health and environmental disaster. The inland port would greatly worsen the air pollution in the valley. It will also greatly Increase the dirty, polluting diesel truck traffic in northern Salt Lake City. It will use up a great deal of water that should be going to preserve the Great Salt Lake.

The Utah Inland Port Authority board still has not completed and released a health risk assessment that would identify the health problems the port would cause. The UIPA should not proceed with any further development until after the study is released and evaluated by Salt Lake City and the Utah Legislature. Contrary to early promises, warehouses are not required to be built sustainably.

The Utah inland port highlights the important issue of environmental justice. The inland port will be built in the northwest area of Salt Lake City that includes the Salt Lake International Airport, the new Utah state prison and Union Pacific Railroad’s main east-west railroad. This area is just north of the poorest and most diverse ethnic population of Salt Lake City. They will suffer the worst from the increased air pollution.

With the lowest unemployment rate of any state in the nation (2.6%) and with the new huge state and private industry technology complex being planned for the Point of the Mountain promising very good paying jobs, there is no economic need for the Inland Port.

The Utah inland port is shaping up to be just a giant boondoggle that will enrich merchandise distributors, like Amazon, the chosen project developers and certain connected Utah politicians and consultants.

It is time to pull the plug on this misguided project. We can no longer afford to waste any more money, time and effort on this reckless endeavor that will cause a great deal of sickness in an area that deserves better.

William E. Fisher

William E. Fisher, originally from Cedar City, grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. He graduated from with a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Southern Utah State College (now Southern Utah University) and taught English and American government for the Clark County School District, Las Vegas. He is now active in civic and political organizations in Salt Lake County.