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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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.

Photo by Phil Douglass, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources</i>

Interest groups across the political spectrum stood behind federal leaders Tuesday as they announced the Greater Sage Grouse won’t be added to endangered species list. The solution didn’t suit Utahns on either end of the political spectrum, even after U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said states can stick with strategies they’re already using to restore the iconic bird on millions of acres in 11 states. Jewell praised the approach as a model for the future.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Salt Lake City has put its big open-space bond measure on hold. But that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm throughout the valley for restoring the Jordan River.

Here at Oxbow Nature Park, money from the 2010 Red Butte oil spill has helped build wetlands where railroad cars used to roll by. These meanders and pools now provide habitat for birds and fish and control storm water. And the riverside vegetation helps remove toxic chemicals from the soil.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah agriculture and wildlife officials have joined together to help backyard poultry producers understand the threat of avian flu.

Backyard chickens may be enjoying this pleasant summer afternoon in their Sugar House pen, but the people who oversee wild and domestic birds in Utah are scrambling to protect them from avian flu.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker wants to get children outdoors and inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.

Used by permission / Rankinstudio.com

This text was updated on 9/18 with the latest death tally.  

Weather forecasters say the risk of flash floods is fading in southwestern Utah after waves swept 20 people to their deaths on Monday. Meanwhile, forecasters are already looking towards preventing future tragedies.

Linh Do / Via Flickr Creative Commons

Critics of the Obama administration’s climate change policies gathered Tuesday in Washington, D.C., across the street from the White House. 

One of them was Tim DeChristopher, who says it's time to take a harder line.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A bit of science history goes on display at the Utah Museum of Natural History this weekend, giving Utah a new perspective on Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking book on evolution and one of the pigeons that helped shape its ideas.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the items on Congress’ to-do list in September, and its supporters are rallying the public in hopes of preventing Washington from letting the fund fade away.

From here at Sugarhouse Park to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to Zion National Park – the fund’s secured open space for half a century.

UAMPS Web Page / Screen Grab 9/4/15

A few Utah communities are exploring an energy future that includes nuclear power. The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a co-op comprised of 45 cities and utility districts, is considering small modular reactors. The co-op’s been thinking about next-generation nuclear power for years, says UAMPS spokesman LaVarr Webb, because these 50-megawatt reactors promise safe, stable electricity that doesn’t pollute.

espensorvik / Flickr Creative Commons

Emissions from cars and industry are usually what Utahns talk about when they debate how to cut pollution. But the category called “area sources” that includes homes and business buildings is expected to become the state’s biggest pollution source in a few years.

EPA / Flickr Creative Commons

Two Utah congressmen want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to explain how it spilled millions of gallons of polluted mine water last month into rivers the agency was supposed to protect.

Roger N. Clark

A saying in Utah’s national parks holds that “half the park is in the dark,” and on Monday Canyonlands National Park announced it has received new recognition for its darker half.

Lynn Chamberlain / Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The state wildlife board put finishing touches Thursday on a plan to manage cougar hunting.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah’s water development community celebrated a milestone Wednesday that was half a century in the making with the latest addition to the Central Utah Project.

RMoseley / Courtesy: Utah Division of Emergency Management

Northern Utah is due for a major earthquake. Seismologists can’t predict exactly when the Big One might happen, but they have been looking at the hazards Utah is likely to face. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

Wildfire smoke from the Northwest has kept Utah’s skies hazy and polluted. But storms ahead promise at least a temporary reprieve.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The nonprofit Envision Utah asked people last spring what they think about the future of energy. One surprising result was the growing importance of conservation.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Attorney General Sean Reyes said he’s still gathering information for any lawsuit Utah might decide to file over the Gold King Mine wastewater spill.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah lawmakers pondered two of Utah’s great passions Wednesday as they discussed deregulating beekeeping.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A poll by Envision Utah suggests Utahns want to be more self-sufficient when it comes to food and preserving farming.