Letter: No way the inland port is green or sustainable

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones, a Board member of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment says pollution from the inland port will threaten heart and lung health of kids and adults. Jones joined numerous representatives from environmental, conservation, and community groups that are part of the Stop the Polluting Port Coalition as they release a report outlining the potential environmental harms from the project during a press conference at the Utah Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.

The inland port was created surreptitiously in the waning hours of the Utah legislative session nearly three years ago. By seizing control of one-fourth of Salt Lake City, certain members of the Legislature wanted to punish the city for its tendency to vote for Democratic candidates. Two other obvious motives were to provide a tax-subsidized boondoggle, with a misleading name, for real estate developers, and to deprive the city of expected revenues and keep them for the state.

In opinion polls, a majority of the people of Salt Lake City have indicated their opposition to the inland port. They don’t want to breathe the increasing levels of dangerous air pollution that the port is bringing. But there are powerful politicians in the Legislature — none of whom live near the port — who continue to push for its development. They think that economic growth is more important than the health of the people. None of the buildings erected so far can be considered in any way “green” or “sustainable.”

On Oct. 7, more than 120 of Utah’s prominent individuals signed the Climate and Clean Air Compact. By signing the compact, they now have a responsibility to follow through and oppose any further expansion of the port.

I urge the 11 board members of the inland port, along with its executive director, to search their consciences and resign their positions in order to protest the inherent and inevitable environmental damage which is being created by the port.

I also urge the Supreme Court of Utah to get off its backside and issue an injunction against further construction until a decision is reached on the legality of the creation of the port, based upon the lawsuit filed by Salt Lake City and as a violation of the state constitution.

Lastly, I urge our new governor, Spencer Cox, to take a cold, hard look at the whole wicked scheme. I use those latter words purposefully.

James King, Salt Lake City

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