Letter: How the inland port could earn some credibility

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Utah Highway Patrol troopers remove a man disrupting a meeting by the Utah Inland Port Authority at the Utah Capitol on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.

It seems the inland port debate is like trench warfare. Nowhere is there common ground.

On one side, the Inland Port Authority board says it is listening to citizens concerned about increased air pollution, degraded water quality, threats to wildlife and harm to the environment around the Great Salt Lake. It says it will do everything possible to make the development as green as technology will allow. The board only asks the other side to “trust us.”

Skeptical activists point to the cloaked way the state Legislature foisted the inland port legislation on Salt Lake City. They say there hasn’t been sufficient transparency, certainly not enough to establish trust. They question how the port board can guarantee it can manage environmental challenges when the city already is facing problems with air pollution that could lead to EPA sanctions.

Concerned citizens worry the board is compromised by hubris. They wonder how the port board can be so assured when it can’t define the boundaries of an “inland port.”

One way for the inland port board to demonstrate its good will and commitment to mitigating environmental damage would be to formally endorse the Carbon Fee and Dividend initiative. By pledging to support HR763, the federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, the port board would be committing itself to concrete action.

Besides saving lives, creating new jobs, reducing emissions and being revenue neutral, the act has bipartisan sponsorship. For two seemingly unyielding groups, that would be a good place to start.

Common ground.

Craig L. Denton, Cottonwood Heights

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