Public Lands Policy Analyst
Public Lands Policy Coordination Office
5110 State Office Building
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114
Dear Mr. Jemming,
RE: Application #8853
I am writing to adamantly oppose Pearl Montana Exploration & Production's application to drill exploratory boreholes in the North Arm of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
The North Arm is home to Robert Smithson's iconic artwork, Spiral Jetty (1970), one of the most widely recognized and cherished American sculptures of the late twentieth century, and perhaps the most iconic example of Land Art in the world. Smithson's sculpture is made of basalt rocks and earth taken from the site and formed into a massive 1500-foot-long coil that spirals into the Great Salt Lake. The expansive natural setting is integral to the artwork, providing an essential frame for experiencing Smithson’s project.
In addition, the isolation of the landscape surrounding the Spiral Jetty evokes a sense of timelessness that is crucial to the experience of the artwork and must be preserved. The fragile balance of earth, salt lake, and local flora and fauna, symbolized in the form and structure of the sculpture, must also be maintained to preserve the experience of the Spiral Jetty in this unique landscape.
I strenuously object to the proposed drilling which will occur approximately 4 miles away from the Spiral Jetty. The drilling itself, and potential subsequent oil extraction, will disrupt the viewshed and the area’s isolated character, as well as degrade the natural environment of the lake. Moreover, construction and operation will introduce toxins and chemicals to the delicate saline water and wetlands that surround the lake. In the case of a toxic spill, the proposed operation would cause irreparable damage to the lake environment and threaten the physical integrity of Smithson's extraordinary sculpture.
I urge the State to seriously consider the detrimental effects that drilling will have on Robert Smithson’s internationally acclaimed artwork and to deny this and any future filings in the North Arm of Great Salt Lake that similarly constitute a threat to the artwork and the surrounding environment. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
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