[Overpopulation] Somehow, stories like this always show up in the mainstream media underscored by a breathless quality. It's like, "hey we're first in something, right here in Utah! We're really somebody!"
To the contrary, every story about Utah gaining new population depresses the hell out of me. It's partly that I know our leaders throw their arms around this growth without ever really planning for it. Beyond that, though, there's an unsettling mirage at work here. We're always fooling ourselves into thinking the space in Utah--in the whole West for that matter--is endless. It's because we haven't yet devised a way to sweat every inch of land into development (Check out this Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance update to see how hard we're trying).
We have too many people here, and we live in a desert. We don't have enough water to accommodate all this growth. Never will. It's fascinating that the other two states with the biggest population gains are Arizona and Nevada. They don't have any water either. Let's see how breathless and excited these growth stories sound a month from now, when pea-soup pollution has enveloped the Wasatch Front. And when the state Legislature is tightening its fists against adequate funding for booming growth in public schools and the higher ed system. (Holly Mullen)