While over 90 percent of Utah’s population lives and works along the Wasatch Front, many of the state’s assets are well outside that region. From the natural wonders of southern Utah, to Utah State University and our farming communities to the north – the economic vitality of our state is inherently interconnected.

That interconnectivity between eastern Utah and the Wasatch Front is becoming more significant and stronger as an energy renaissance is taking place.

This increased interconnectivity can be seen throughout the Wasatch Front. Our major local refineries have invested millions of dollars to upgrade their facilities to improve air quality and process larger amounts of product. A quality workforce in the trades is now higher in demand. And our research universities are becoming pioneers in energy innovation.

Development in the Basin

The Uinta Basin, which is home to roughly 33,000 Utahns, has a long history of energy development. The recent developments and innovations in the energy industry are powering a vibrant regional economy with an unemployment rate well below four percent and a booming 30 percent increase in the region’s population in past decade.

The economic growth of the Uinta Basin is projected to increase in coming decades. As this growth continues to expand, the region attracts investors and innovators from across the world.

Connecting energy to the market

Major infrastructure and development projects that will strengthen the Utah’s economy have come online and continue to be planned, including a new refinery in Emery County to process crude oil from the Uinta Basin. However, without support, this region’s vibrancy could be lost. A recent UDOT study found that if there are not significant improvements to the energy transportation infrastructure, billions of dollars in resource development will be lost to Utah’s economy.

“Incredible things are happening right in our own backyard to power our first-in-the-nation job growth,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “It is vital that Utah’s business community understands firsthand the unique opportunities and challenges that drive that growth.”

This past month Lt. Gov. Greg Bell joined a select group of business and thought leaders see firsthand the remarkable growth and potential of the energy-rich Uinta Basin firsthand. The trip, organized by the Salt Lake Chamber, was a two-day excursion on June 27-28 through the region. In addition to visiting the live production sites, the group gained insights and perspective from experts and community leaders on how the region is working diligently to understand and address air quality challenges, promote responsible environmental stewardship, resolve and facilitate productive lands agreements, and focus on sustained economic growth through tailored higher education.

Responsible energy development benefits

The Salt Lake Chamber envisions an environmentally responsible and innovative energy industry that is a pillar to Utah’s economic strength, which is supported by a responsive regulatory climate. This industry will be a global leader in energy technology as it strengthens Utah’s economy through an abundance of affordable energy that enhances Utah’s competitive advantages. It will provide tens of thousands of jobs and billions in tax revenue, help support a well-funded education system, and support the development of a diversified economy. The Uinta Basin and its industry are making this vision a reality.