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

Union Pacific Railroad / From a Utah DWQ status report

Union Pacific Railroad is delaying plans to breach a causeway that separates the north and south arms of the Great Salt Lake.

hknoblauch / istockphoto.com

Rex Larsen grows alfalfa, corn and seed barley and raises cattle on his farm west of Spanish Fork. He’s fifth generation and thinking about retiring.

“That’s a real challenge for me as I look at the future.”

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Congressman Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative sparked a testy debate on the control of public lands on Wednesday even while it received praise all around at its first hearing in Washington.  That’s because it’s considered a rare public lands compromise that sets boundaries for conservation, mining and off-roading.

hknoblauch / istockphoto.com

A state task force is polishing its report to Gov. Gary Herbert on preparing for Utah’s future water needs. Some environmentalists are criticizing the group for snubbing public input.

zhengzaishuru / istockphoto.com

Uintah County Commissioner Mike McKee says oil and gas companies would be doing a lot more to clean up pollution if they knew they could avoid sanctions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

A congressional committee takes a look on Thursday at the Utah Public Lands Initiative, the proposal billed as an alternative to a Bears Ears National Monument.

ES3N/istockphoto.com

Low water on the Great Salt Lake is raising concern. The worries are economic and ecological as the water dips close to the lowest level it’s ever been.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Carlos Wheeldon dreamed about the world-famous salt speedway as a child growing up in England. He’s traveled to Utah nine times to be part of the World of Speed race that takes place each fall on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah’s West Desert. And this year he’s worried.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

There was a time not too long ago when storytellers gathered in Provo Canyon. Their tales ranged from silly to spooky. It was the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, and people came from near and far to hear the tales of pros like Bil Lepp, a champion liar from West Virginia.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Coloradoan David Krimstock is heading out to get a better feel for the trails and prepare for the Park City Point 2 Point mountain bike race. During a couple of practice runs on the dusty mountain tracks, he saw firsthand just how hot and dry Utah’s summer was.

temis / istockphoto.com

Ryan Evans is actually looking forward to what would normally a pretty dull legislative meeting this month, when the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee  reviews the state’s $2,000 solar-panel tax credit. Evans is the new leader of the Utah Solar Energy Association, and he’s excited about sharing the good news his industry has for Utah’s economy.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Carl Ingwell says he had no idea corporations were contributing to the environmental humanities program. Then he saw developers like Kennecott Land and the Boyer Company listed as “friends” of environmental humanities.  Ingwell also saw the Utah Mining Association and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation on the list.

zhengzaishuru / istockphoto.com

Environmentalists have launched a new campaign against climate change. They’re trying to slow oil and gas development on public lands just as the energy industry is trying to get the federal government to step it up.

The Uintah Basin Energy Summit takes place this week, and the controversy’s started even before the program begins. That’s because Wednesday’s keynote speech is being given by prominent climate change denier, Marc Morano.

Scott Daly / Utah Department of Environmental Quality

The worst of a silt spill at the Tibble Fork Dam has passed. Now health and environment officials are assessing the extent of the damage and risks ahead.

“We’re in response mode right now to be able to alert the public if there are concerns,” Walt Baker is director of the Utah Division of Water Quality. “That will all be spelled out in our release of the data.”

AndrewSoundarajan/ / istockphoto.com

Utah is home to five parks, seven national monuments and a national historic site. They’re part of the national park system’s centennial celebration this week even as a debate continues about federal management of public lands.

Utah Division of Water Quality

Seventy-five-thousand dollars. That’s the sum the state paid for two week’s worth of testing at Utah Lake during the height of last month’s cyanobacteria outbreak. July’s heat combined with pollution from runoff and sewer plants created a poisonous stew of toxic bacteria and thick mats of green sludge. Health and environment officials fielded hundreds of calls.

Illustration: istockphoto.com

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team officially opened a Utah headquarters office Tuesday. The Democrat is hoping to win over voters in a solidly Republican state, where voters haven’t embraced a Democrat for president since the 1960’s.

File Photo/KUER News

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has no plans to vote for the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. But he says that hasn’t put him at odds with his boss, Governor Gary Herbert, who’s announced that Donald Trump will get his vote.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Simone Jackson is spending the first morning of 7th grade at the Salt Lake County Health Department’s immunization clinic.

“After I get this,” she says, “then I’ll be able to go into my school.”

David Morgan / istockphoto.com

Four whitewater greats – including three women -- will be inducted soon into the River Runners’ Hall of Fame.

ChloeChiocch/iStockPhoto.com

Federal water officials decided this week that there’s enough water in Lake Mead to keep up with deliveries in Arizona, Nevada and California next year. That cheered downstream users of the Colorado River, who have been anxiously awaiting word on whether the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation might begin emergency cuts in the water Lake Mead provides Arizona and Nevada.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

British and American leaders signed the Migratory Bird Treaty a century ago.  These days the Great Salt Lake plays an important role in carrying out the mission of that international treaty and others that followed.

“It was amazing, forward thinking at that time,“ says Katie McVey, a wildlife refuge specialist at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah.

National Interagency Fire Center

Jessica Wade began her career in wildland firefighting in her hometown of Vernal. This month she’s stepping into a new role, becoming the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s State Fire Management Officer for Utah during what’s often the busiest time of the year in the Great Basin for wildfire.

The Sutherland Institute

The conservative Sutherland Institute has released a new video that argues against the Bears Ears National Monument proposal.

The video’s headline asks if the Obama administration will stifle the American dream in Utah’s poorest county. It features children saying what they want to be when they grow up, maybe a cowboy or a rancher.

Utah Department of Health

Methamphetamine lab busts are on the decline in Utah down from 107 in 2004 to 1 in 2014.  But concerns at the Utah Department of Health are rising.

American Thoracic Society and Marron Institute Report

The American Thoracic Society is one of the organizations that has argued for years that less pollution would mean healthier Americans. The Environmental Protection Agency seemed to be listening last year when it tightened national ozone standards – a little. But new research suggests that even tougher pollution controls could save lives and improve health.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Environmental groups fighting what would be Utah’s first nuclear power plant are dropping their lawsuit over water rights. But they say they’re not abandoning the cause.

“What we are doing is essentially moving from fighting this in the courts to fighting it in the marketplace,” says Matt Pacenza, director of HEAL Utah.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse has given 144 speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate about addressing climate change.

iStockphoto.com: johnnya123

Senator Mike Lee explained in a town hall meeting last month why he and Senator Orrin Hatch think federal land managers have it wrong when they forbid mountain biking in places where the Wilderness Act outlaws motorized vehicles.

“I don’t read it that way,” he told a caller. “Senator Hatch and I both believe that was a mistake in interpretation.”

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