Judy Fahys


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.

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Salt Lake City-based EnergysSolutions announced big changes last week that could affect its Utah operations.

Brian Grimmett/KUER

The Utah Transit Authority’s governing board has passed new ethics rules and three of its members have resigned after an undisclosed trip to Switzerland two months ago. But the legislative leader who organized the controversial trip is unapologetic.

Natural Resources Conservation Service/USDA

  Imagine a time when Utah’s flooded – not with water but Californians and other people trying to flee the effects of climate change.

It’s one of the uncertainties about Utah’s water, thanks to climate change and an issue being discussed at the Salt Lake County Watershed Symposium in West Valley City.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Main Canyon is an oasis in the high-mountain desert of the Tavaputs Plateau even during midsummer during a drought.

Burt and Christine DeLambert have raised cattle here for nearly four decades. But they’d never seen anything like this before: a dozen trout belly up dead in their spring-fed pond.

Utah Clean Energy

Utility regulators at the Utah Public Service Commission have been considering the question for months: How should PacifiCorp factor the costs and benefits of rooftop solar power into their rates?

Judy Fahys/KUER


Climate change activists urged the Natural History Museum of Utah on Tuesday to cut itself free of fossil fuel money.

Courtesty: Intermountain Medical Center

New evidence is emerging from the Wasatch Front about the effects of air pollution on health, thanks to researchers at Intermountain Medical Center who studied heart attacks over more than two decades. What they found in the four Wasatch Front counties is that, when concentrations of microscopic soot pollution reach 25 parts per million concentration, the likelihood of suffering what’s called a STEMI heart attack goes up too.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The popular Land and Conservation Water Fund has pumped more than $17 billion into thousands of projects nationwide in a half century. Around $171 million has gone into Utah projects like building neighborhood playgrounds, developing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and restoring wildlife habitat.

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

Most years Salt Lake City’s tomato plants are killed in a hard freeze by Halloween. But this October was the warmest on record at 60.5 degrees average. Flip-flops were comfortable for trick or treating and tomatoes even survived the holiday.

Those mild temperatures are a sign that the new water season is getting off to a slow start in Utah.

Wolfgang Staudt / Wikimedia Commons

Economists from three Utah universities say repayment costs for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline would be way out of reach for water users in Washington County.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah leaders want to clean up the air even as the state grows in population and economic output. A daylong symposium next week focuses on how to accomplish both.

Courtesy: / Kennecott Utah Copper

Environmental groups are applauding Rio Tinto’s decision to scrap its permit for a new rock crushing plant at Kennecott's copper mine.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has tapped a county councilman and former state legislator to continue building the agency that turns land and minerals into funding for public schools.

Kevin Lewis / Idaho Rivers United

Federal regulators are snubbing plans for a new dam on the Bear River in Idaho that’s has lots of local critics.

The Twin Lakes Canal Company in Idaho wants to build the dam to generate 10 megawatts of energy and to store irrigation water, but staffers for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission say a license should be rejected on environmental grounds.

Brooks Britt / Brigham Young University

Utah paleontologists are telling the world about a quarry of fossils they’ve been unearthing on the northeastern edge of the state. It offers clues about what life was like during a mysterious period of time in the American West.

University of Utah Health Sciences

For years, he didn’t really think about it when he’d pass the Hogle Zoo on his way to work each day. But Joshua Schiffman knows now that the elephants inside offer important clues about preventing cancer.

Hogle Zoo’s African elephants trumpet on command and paint with their trunks. But you can’t see their most extraordinary trick: avoiding cancer.

Josh Ewing

An extraordinary coalition of Western tribal leaders is petitioning for a new conservation area in southeastern Utah.

Denny Armstrong / Flickr Creative Commons

The Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study is a dry-sounding report on water that many people call the lifeblood of the West, the vast Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people in Utah and six other states.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Many Utah leaders are applauding last week's federal court ruling that stymies updates to federal clean water regulations. In the end, they’re looking to the courts and Congress to kill the rules.

Missy S. / Flickr Creative Commons

More Utahns are finding other ways besides their vehicles to get from place to place. It’s part of a trend described in a new report by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a think tank that’s reporting transit use is up and driving is down.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Environmental groups have ideas for regulators about cutting the industrial emissions that contribute to Utah’s winter pollution.

The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, HEAL Utah and Western Resource Advocates say air pollution harms quality of life in Utah too much of the time.

“Folks in Utah know this because your kinds can’t go out and play on the playground,” says Joan Clayburgh, spokeswoman for Western Resource Advocates. “Our grandparents and our parents and the elderly are told maybe not to go out during the day. This is our right to have clean air.”

Judy Fahys/KUER

The water year begins on October 1st, and the water community is hoping a string of dry years is finally coming to an end.

Ryan Luke, an engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Provo Area office, says a few reservoirs are at close to normal levels but most are low for this time of year.

Two cement-company partners and their businesses are accused of illegally dumping building waste in wetlands near the Jordan River.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Fitness buff Barbara West is skipping her morning circuit training class next week.

The 92-year-old’s playing tennis at the Huntsman Senior Games instead.

“She’s good,” says her doubles partner, Betty Helland, age 90. “I can’t move as fast as she can, so she covers a lot of the balls that I can’t do. And she does a fantastic job.”

Screen Shot / House Natural Resources Committee YouTube Channel

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert used a congressional hearing Wednesday to drive home his top message as chairman of the National Governors Association: States govern better.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, hosted the oversight hearing on respecting state authority in managing resources and developing energy.

Chris Mabey / NPCA Photos via Flickr Creative Commons

Utah agencies are dusting off contingency plans as a precaution in case Congress fails to pass a government-funding bill before midnight Wednesday.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Fall colors in Utah’s mountains are getting people thinking about prospects for a snowy winter. Weather forecasters also have been thinking about it, especially the role the strong El Nino might play and how “the Blob” could factor in.

Anna M. / Flickr Creative Commons

What if air pollution spikes don’t just make it harder to breathe but also make it harder to think?

That’s a question Dustin Hammers wants to answer in a study getting underway at the University of Utah. He’s a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Utah’s Alzheimer’s Center who’s beginning a study on how spikes of wintertime pollution affect cognition.

Courtesy: / House Speaker John Boehner's office

Members of Congress might have been a little apprehensive going into Pope Francis’ speech Thursday because of the Catholic leader’s recent comments on issues that have been divisive in Washington. But at least a few members of Utah’s delegation to Congress were pleased with the historic address.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Fall is here and that usually means that farmers markets are beginning to close. But the crowds and the harvests are so big this year that the Ogden Farmers Market is extending its season.

In fact, it’s been a record summer for the farmers market at Ogden’s historic 25th Street. More than 100,000 people have already come out to buy local honey, baked goods, produce and crafts this year, so organizers have decided to keep it open through October 10.