SALT LAKE CITY — Brian Steed, the head of an environmental policy institute at Utah State University, has been tapped to oversee state efforts to help the Great Salt Lake recover.

Governor Spencer Cox, House Speaker Brad Wilson and Senate President J. Stuart Adams picked him to be the "Great Salt Lake Commissioner," a position created by the legislature earlier this year. The position has the ability to override state agencies if it means protecting the lake, which has declined dramatically and presents an ecological crisis for northern Utah.

"Brian has been a trusted advisor for many years and I appreciate his willingness to re-enter public service at this critical time," said Gov. Cox in a statement released by his office on Monday. "We have a unique opportunity right now to protect and preserve the Great Salt Lake, and Brian’s expertise and passion for the lake will ensure its future is secure for generations to come."

Last week, FOX 13 News reported that the House Speaker, Senate President and Gov. Cox had interviewed candidates for the job.

Steed currently leads USU's Janet Quinney Lawson Institute for Land, Water & Air. The governor's office said he will continue in that role in addition to his job as lake commissioner. He has also served on the Great Salt Lake "strike team," a group that prepared policy recommendations to protect the lake. He served under Gov. Cox previously as the head of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

"I am honored by this nomination and am very excited to continue working on the challenges facing the Great Salt Lake," Steed said in a statement. "The decisions we make today will have a huge impact on the lake and its future, as well as on the quality of life Utahns have historically enjoyed. I am optimistic that by working together we can get it right."

The position is subject to a Utah State Senate confirmation hearing set for June.

Fox 13 Reporter
Ben Winslow is FOX 13's reporter on Capitol Hill covering a wide variety of topics including politics, polygamy, vice and courts. He has been in the news business in Utah for more than 20 years now, working in radio, newspaper, television and digital news. Winslow has received numerous honors for his reporting, including a national Edward R. Murrow award; the Religion Newswriters Association Local TV News Report of the Year; the Utah Broadcaster's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Readers of Salt Lake City Weekly and Q Salt Lake have named him their "Best TV news reporter" for many years now. He co-hosts "Utah Booze News: An Alcohol Policy Podcast," covering the state's often confusing and quirky liquor laws. Winslow is also known for his very active Twitter account keeping Utahns up-to-date on important news.

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