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Part 6: Final Perspectives

LRS's Perspective

Since their project was rejected by the state and postponed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, LRS hasn’t made any official public appearances. However, they did issue the following statement in a press release in early January 2023.

"Lake Restoration Solutions remains committed to its mission of helping to restore and rejuvenate a struggling Utah Lake to once again be a gem for all Utahns to enjoy. The legal and technical questions raised by the Division of Forestry, Fire, & State Lands are issues we intend to work through together to find the optimal solutions for Utah Lake…The appeal process to resolve these legal questions is the standard process to work through technical questions, and we believe will yield the desired result, which ultimately is to see Utah Lake be a clean and healthy waterbody."

State Agency's Perspective

After FFSL rejected LRS’ appeal, things went quiet for a few weeks. While the holidays were occupying everyone’s attention, one question lingered:

On January 11, 2023—exactly one year after filing the lawsuit against Ben Abbott—LRS sued the State of Utah. The lawsuit alleged that FFSL had overstepped its authority by rejecting the project proposal, despite the mandate from the original legislation and the amendments. LRS claimed that their relationships with investors would be destroyed by this decision and that the state needed to reverse the decision and reinstate the project.

Because FFSL had been extremely accommodating and thorough in their review, the state of Utah filed for dismissal of the suit a few weeks after it was received. As of the writing of this teaching case, that lawsuit is still pending.

Ben's Perspective

A week after LRS sued the state, Ben finally had his court hearing to determine the outcome of LRS’s lawsuit against him. LRS had charged Ben with defamation, false light, and interference with economic activity. The judge determined that Ben’s statements were true and legally protected as a matter of fact and law. She ordered LRS to pay Ben’s attorney’s fees and indicated that they would likely need to pay Ben for personal damages.

The judge declined to rule on Ben’s Anti-SLAPP countersuit, deciding that the question of whether LRS would need to pay Ben personal damages needed to be decided by a jury. That trial has not yet been scheduled at the time of writing, but could occur in late 2023 or early 2024.

While Ben never anticipated his involvement in Utah Lake management would lead to a lawsuit and multiple changes to state law, he is now much better equipped to engage on issues of public concern. He is more confident in his First Amendment rights to free speech and more convinced of the responsibility of each citizen to be informed and involved in decision making.

Reflection Questions

  1. How could you explain the main events and outcomes of this case using Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Framework for policymaking?
  2. What insights does the Advocacy Coalition Framework provide to what happened in this case?


Whatever your opinion about the Utah Lake islands project, we hope that this teaching case can equip you to more effectively engage in the decision-making process. In the US, good decisions require citizen involvement. Civic participation is more than just following the news about presidential elections. Get informed and get involved in the many city, county, and state issues where you voice can be the difference between an island metropolis or a recovering lake.