Judy Fahys

Reporter

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.

Ways To Connect

This weekend’s holiday means fireworks and outdoor fun for many Utahns. It also means more fire risk.

Just ask Jason Curry. He's Utah’s state fire spokesman. He didn’t have to go far from his downtown office Wednesday to find a hillside covered in golden grass. It’s just above lush Memory Grove, but the grass here is thigh-high and so dry that it’s brittle.

Judy Fahys/KUER

State mining regulators heard arguments for and against the nation’s first oil sands mine, which is being built in eastern Utah.

Dozens of critics turned out to weigh in Tuesday on a proposal to expand the project.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for Death Row prisoners to continue being executed by lethal injection. It’s a case that’s been watched in Utah, where the use of firing squads is a backup method of execution.

Judy Fahys/KUER

County commissioners gathered in a state Capitol hearing room Wednesday seeking aid for one of their own. San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s supporters left a pile of cash to help with his criminal case – but it didn’t include taxpayer money.

Steve Schmidt / Western Rivers Flyfisher

The group Trout Unlimited says the nation’s trout are in trouble.

Development, invasive species and climate change are threats that have pushed the native trout to just one quarter of the places they used to thrive nationwide. TU’s president and CEO, Chris Wood, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday it’s not just a problem for people who like to fish.

Don Brubeck / Flickr Creative Commons

Congress is considering an Internet sales tax once again. This time the effort’s being led by U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

Hot Weather Digs In

Jun 22, 2015
Judy Fahys/KUER

It’s been pretty hot in Utah lately, and the forecast for the week heading into the July Fourth holiday weekend calls for the warm and dry conditions to dig in.

Doc Searls / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government approved a big coal lease in central Utah Friday over the objections of environmental groups.

Judy Fahys/KUER

  Pope Francis lent his voice Thursday to the argument that climate change is a moral problem with the release of his long-awaited encyclical on the issue.

Several groups in Utah are embracing the message.

Judy Fahys/KUER

New plans to mine oil sands in Utah are under review. But environmentalists say state regulators need to take a harder look at the details.

Judy Fahys/KUER

By Thursday morning, officials in the cities of Syracuse and Clinton had lifted boil-water notices that had been in place since last week. Potentially dangerous fecal coliform and the bacteria e. coli were found in drinking water systems. In separate incidents in each community, pipes for untreated irrigation water had been accidently connected to culinary lines.

Judy Fahys/KUER

One hundred North American scientists are calling for a moratorium on oil sands projects. They say oil sands projects and pipelines damage the environment, and they want new projects stopped.

Matt Hobbs / Flickr Creative Commons

The panel that used to set Utah’s radiation control policies held its final meeting on Tuesday. And, as its last official act, the Utah Radiation Control Board created a new advisory panel to guide future decisions on cancer treatments, diagnostic tools and other medical uses of radiation.

Judy Fahys/KUER

State regulators are forecasting increasing pollution over the next couple of days. It’s a sign that the ozone pollution season is getting underway and that it’s time to start paying attention to preventing it and taking precautions.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Early June is goose-banding time in the Salt Lake Valley, and around 100 volunteers join the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on Friday to help.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The fire community is breathing easier about the upcoming wildfire season for now.

Back in winter, fire officials worried that Utah might be headed into a long, harsh one. But rain gauges at the Salt Lake City airport registered more than double the normal rainfall for the month. Now the soil moisture is restored and green grass covers the range.

Dan Bammes

Environmental and health advocates have tried for years to force environmental regulators to crack down on ozone pollution in the Uinta Basin. This week a federal appeals court rejected their arguments, even though some winter days the pollution in the rural Uinta Basin rivals the smoggiest days in big cities like Los Angeles.

Jacob B. Frank / National Park Service

State air-quality officials have updated plans to clean up haze in the skies around Utah’s national parks, and they’re sending it to federal regulators for their approval over the objections of environmental advocates.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Household hazardous waste collection begins in earnest this week, as the Salt Lake County Health Department begins hosting neighborhood collections throughout the summer.

Courtesy: BLM

A new good-government group, called the Campaign for Accountability, is calling for an investigation of the nonprofit behind the lands-transfer movement and the Utah lawmaker in charge of it.

Freida and Ray Tibbitts have always taken care to turn off lights whenever they leave a room, so they were stunned last fall when their electric bill jumped and the energy report included with the bill showed their home was using twice as much power as the neighbors.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation has been taking a hard look at the Colorado River Basin, exploring ways to deal with the reality that the Colorado River can’t always deliver all of the water that people demand.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Spring is typically a time when northern Utah’s air is pretty clean, but the business community doesn’t want clear skies to let political leaders forget that improving air quality is essential for making Utah an attractive place to do business.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The weather forecast includes a decent chance of rain through the holiday weekend. It’s going to spoil plenty of outdoor activities, but some Utahns are grateful for the relief it’s brought, at least for the time being.

Grantsville farmer Ernest Matthews is one. He welcomes this rainy May for what its done for the range his cows graze and the alfalfa he grows.

Utah Clean Energy

The energy industry has been in Utah’s capital city this week to talk about trends, and one word kept popping up everywhere: clean.

Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute told reporters: “We’re leading the world to improve the cleanliness and energy consumption.”

Garrett / Flickr Creative Commons

A state energy official told lawmakers Wednesday that cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants could be costly for Utah.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to cut the emissions linked to climate change hasn’t been finalized yet, but Utah’s energy officials and electricity producers worry that the new emission controls could hit Utah hard.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Jim Wright and his wife are raising three young children in Kaysville. They want state leaders to plan for a healthy economy so their kids also can live and work here. They’d like education to be high-quality and affordable. They want rich outdoor opportunities for their grandchildren even as the population doubles. That’s why Wright filled out Envision Utah’s online survey, Your Utah Your Future.

Tony Frates / Flickr Creative Commons

The discussion about the future of Salt Lake City’s parks, trails and open space continues through next week with six open houses.

City leaders say the need to gather citizen input on outdoor amenities is obvious. Some of the city’s parks were designed and built decades ago, long before people thought about taking their bikes into the mountains on dirt trails. It’s one reason residents are being asked for their input on a new priority list, says Nichol Bourdeaux, deputy chief of staff in the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office.

Robert Young / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has been embroiled in controversy over inventory management and low morale. But Governor Gary Herbert said Thursday he’s comfortable with the way things are going now.

Per / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study zeroes in on those odd times when bird flocks bypass their usual winter habitats because of the climate.

Pine siskins are small songbirds that settle sometimes outside their normal winter hangouts.

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