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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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.

Utah Division of Water Quality

Life’s getting back to normal in southeastern Utah after the dramatic Gold King Mine spill, and the San Juan River has been declared safe for irrigation and livestock watering.

Now attention’s shifting toward preventing another toxic mine spill in Utah and elsewhere.

Ron Reiring / Flickr Creative Commons

The waters downstream from the Gold King Mine waste spill are clearing up, but new hazards still lie ahead for the agency responsible for the accident.

Chesley Chen / Wikimedia Commons

State environmental officials have been checking the safety of water downstream of the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado.

Ron Cogswell / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah officials have been on the lookout out for impacts from last week’s Gold King Mine wastewater spill. On Wednesday, they received more information from downstream, although the answers aren’t conclusive. 

Utah Division of Water Quality

State environmental officials said Tuesday they’re still monitoring water in Utah section of the San Juan River, but so far they haven’t detected contamination from last week’s Gold King Mine waste spill.

Judy Fahys/KUER

State leaders are following through with their recent promise to back up San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah regulators have been preparing more than a year for the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations to cut greenhouse gases from power plants. But the state’s top attorney is demanding that EPA put those new controls on hold.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Ads in Salt Lake City’s daily newspapers Thursday urge people to transform their support for public lands into political action. It’s part of the outdoor industry’s new counteroffensive against efforts to put federal lands under state control.

booizzy / Flickr Creative Commons

The outdoor recreation industry is meeting again in Salt Lake City this week. The Outdoor Retailers’ (OR) Summer Market is partly a gathering of retail trend spotters, partly a brainstorming for conservation activists. But it’s also a business convention, with more than twenty-eight thousand people pumping over twenty-million-dollars into the local economy over a few days. 

Courtesy: / Wasatch Waste and Recycling District

Salt Lake City has offered curbside glass recycling for almost three years. Now the service is debuting in a few county neighborhoods, where recycling glass has meant a trip to those big recycling bins scattered in parking lots around the valley.