FFSL and Compass Minerals Come Together to Protect Great Salt Lake

View of the Great Salt Lake at sunset, at Antelope Island State Park, Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Legislature passed HB453 Great Salt Lake Revisions, which directs the state water engineer to create a water distribution plan for the Great Salt Lake and establishes a severance tax for the lake’s minerals. The legislation also provides a tax incentive for companies that do not deplete water in their extraction process or that voluntarily reduce their water use through an agreement with the state.

The state of Utah and Compass Minerals have agreed to a Term Sheet that outlines the terms and conditions of a voluntary reduction in Compass’ water use along with many other terms aimed at improving the Great Salt Lake. The Term Sheet will be memorialized in a Voluntary Agreement between FFSL and Compass Minerals.

“This agreement provides a framework where critical minerals can be extracted when the lake is at appropriate levels, and water is conserved as lake levels decline,” said Jamie Barnes, Director/State Forester for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “We are pleased that Compass Minerals has actively pursued an agreement with FFSL, which will be the first of its kind for Great Salt Lake.”

This bill, coupled with the willingness of companies to enter into an agreement with the state, will result in less water being removed from the Great Salt Lake. Reducing water depletion from the lake will help the lake reach and be sustained at a healthy range more quickly.

“It’s critical we strike the right balance between industry’s ability to extract the various minerals found in the lake without compromising the health of the lake,” said Great Salt Lake Commissioner Brian Steed. “We are committed to safeguarding the lake’s ecological integrity while incentivizing extraction methods that prioritize sustainability and mitigate impacts to the lake. The Commissioner’s Office appreciates the leadership of the Legislature and the willingness of Compass Minerals to take these important steps to protect the Great Salt Lake.”

Mineral companies have operated under contracts negotiated decades ago and do not reflect the current climate and conditions of the lake. Through HB453, mineral companies can continue extracting critical minerals from the lake while ensuring that the state receives fair compensation for using its minerals. All revenue generated from these minerals is returned to the lake to fund conservation and management efforts.

“We recognize that a healthy Great Salt Lake is essential to both the environmental and economic wellbeing of the region,” said Edward C. Dowling Jr., president and CEO of Compass Minerals. “We are proud to be pursuing this Voluntary Agreement with FFSL and are committed to actively contributing to the health and preservation of this vital natural resource.


Compass Minerals Press Release 3-6-2024