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

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

The West used to solve its water troubles with dams. But now Dan Beard, a man who used to lead the nation’s dam-building agency, wants to shutter it.

Beard once oversaw the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s vast water network in the West, and he helped Congress decide on one billion dollars worth of finishing touches for the Central Utah Project.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Conservation groups and Native American tribes worked with state and local agencies to preserve an extraordinary patch of open space along the Jordan River.

A ceremony on Friday highlights their efforts.

Stephen Butler / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is scanning hundreds of recently passed bills in search of any that might deserve a veto. One that’s caught his eye would prohibit a wintertime wood-burning ban.

House Bill 396 concerns the governor because it potentially restricts the policy-setting Air Quality Board from implementing the best pollution solutions it finds.

Courtesy: / Utah Department of Transportation

Utah lawmakers took a big step on air quality last week by passing a bill that creates incentives for refineries to make cleaner gasoline in Utah.

Utahns for Responsible Burning / Facebook Screen Capture

Clean-air activists want Governor Gary Herbert to veto a bill that bars regulators from banning wood burning all winter in Utah’s polluted areas. KUER’s Judy Fahys has the story.

The idea of a wood-burning ban was aimed at averting high-pollution episodes in northern Utah basins. But the Division of Air Quality’s proposal caused a backlash and prompted lawmakers to pass a bill that outlaws a ban.

Utah Division of Natural Resources and FrogWatch

The season to spot frogs and toads has arrived, and Hogle Zoo is part of a nationwide, citizen-science effort to monitor them in Utah.

The zoo’s Suzanne Zgraggen, coordinator for FrogWatch USA in Utah, teaches volunteers how to identify frogs and toads.

Lawmakers Hike Gas Tax

Mar 13, 2015
futureatlas.com / Flickr Creative Commons

Motorists will see Utah’s gas tax increase, thanks to an 11th-hour compromise between the Utah House and Senate.

Lawmakers have borrowed from education and universities for years to cover road and bridge repairs. They agreed to end that practice by fixing the 24.5-cent gas tax.

University of Utah

Lawmakers are considering moving Utah closer to being a hands-free state when it comes to drivers using cell phones.

It’s already against the law to text while driving in Utah. A bill in the Senate would require motorists in motion to use Bluetooth or other voice-activated features. Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, calls it “hands-free lite.”

Air Bills Advance

Mar 11, 2015
Wikipedia IC Bus CE-Series

Senators advanced important air-quality bills Tuesday. One provides clean school buses. The other permits Utah-tailored regulations.

The word “different” changed everything for a bill that gives more flexibility to state air regulators. Sen Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, explained that current law blocked regulators from stepping up pollution monitoring at a medical waste incinerator in his district.

Courtesy: Brenda Norrell / Earthcycles

 The West lost an important anti-nuclear activist last week, when Margene Bullcreek was laid to rest on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation.

401(k)2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

Competing House and Senate Medicaid expansion plans are now on the table, and that means state lawmakers have just four days to settle their differences on this major issue before the session ends.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The controversy over wood-burning and air pollution flared up again Tuesday before a legislative committee.

Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden, is sponsoring a bill to ease wood burning restrictions. It amounts to a rebuke of Gov. Gary Herbert’s proposal to ban wood-burning all winter in northern Utah’s pollution hotspots.

snowbirdphoto / Flickr Creative Commons

  Utah’s second annual Outdoor Recreation Summit gets underway in Salt Lake City Tuesday. The daylong meeting is aimed at bringing together communities that have been at odds in the past.

Theen Moy / Flickr Creative Commons

Social service groups are calling on Utah lawmakers to rethink earmarks. They are taking their case to the Capitol as the Legislature’s budget-makers write up their priority list for unfunded projects in the coming week .

Goodiez / Flickr Creative Commons

A new bill would make Utah the 24th state to allow the medical use of marijuana. The measure also allows for medical marijuana entrepreneurs.

EMDOT/ FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

State Senators are expected to take up a bill later this week to merge the agencies that oversee radiation and waste disposal. Doctors and other medical professionals are criticizing the move.

Vox efx / Flickr Creative Commons

House lawmakers passed a bill Friday to slightly expand a pilot program aimed at getting more voters to participate in Utah elections.

Courtesy: / U.S. Rep. Mia Love

U.S. Senator Mike Lee and Congresswoman Mia Love addressed state lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Legislation to clean up Utah’s air is progressing in the State Capitol as the second half of the 2015 General Session begins.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

  House lawmakers narrowly passed a bill Friday to expand the state’s authority to use firing squads for executions.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Doctors offered a public tutorial Thursday on the dangers pollution poses to pregnant women, and they gave suggestions on protecting mothers and their babies.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Thousands of Utahns gathered at the State Capitol Saturday to remind lawmakers they want more action on clean air.

Thiophene Guy / Flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers rolled out nearly two dozen bills and funding requests Thursday that focus on air quality.

This session’s efforts come the year after the Legislature enacted more air-quality legislation than in the previous decade. And lawmakers want constituents to know they’re still paying attention.

Judy Fahys/KUER

 A former top lands leader says America’s latest Sagebrush Rebellion is a danger to the nation's public-lands heritage. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, speaking at the Outdoor Retailers trade show in Salt Lake City Thursday, urged the industry to fight back.

Courtesy: / Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

  Fishers and farmers have been working together more than a decade to make life better for Bonneville cutthroat trout on the upper Bear River. Funding from the Farm Bill passed by Congress last year will help that collaboration continue.

Ken Lund / Flickr Creative Commons

  The Colorado River is often called the lifeblood of the West, and now a new study shows just how economically vital the river is to the seven states that rely on it.

David Lewis / Courtesy: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Water levels in the Great Salt Lake have dropped close to record low, prompting the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council to talk about how that low water affects everyone and everything that depends on the lake.

Courtesy: / Kennecott Utah Copper web page

Utah’s near the top of the nation’s list for toxic releases once again, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

badairday.org / University of Utah Entertainment Arts and Engineering Department

Computer game students at the University of Utah have developed a tool to teach teens about the science and politics behind winter pollution.

Flickr Creative Commons

  Air pollution used to be something Utahns just griped about. That’s changing, according to Kerry Kelly a University of Utah scientist and member of the state Air Quality Board.

Pages