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

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.

Utah Economic Review

A comprehensive new report on Utah’s economy says business is doing well at the beginning of 2015, and that bodes well for workers, too.

Scott Schrantz / Flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers have been saying for years that Utah needs a better way to pay for roads, highways and transit. Lately they’ve started talking about exactly how to do that.

Courtesy: / Hawkwatch International

Many Americans know the success story about the recovery of bald eagles. But few realize their cousins, the golden eagles, are in trouble.

Judy Fahys/KUER

More than a dozen water managers met at the National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City Tuesday to hear from forecasters, and many left cautiously optimistic about 2015 even though the past three years have been drier than normal in Utah.

Dmitri / Flickr Creative Commons

The end of December may have been bitterly cold, but last year was surprisingly warm overall in Utah, continuing a trend that began three years ago.

JT / Flickr Creative Commons

  Many people think it’s a good idea to idle their cars for a few minutes to warm them up during cold weather. It used to be recommended.

Flickr Creative Commons

Northern Utah is bracing for the first pollution episode of the new year, thanks to a multi-day inversion that has started building on the Wasatch Front.

Judy Fahys/KUER

State regulators say banning wood-burning in winter would protect northern Utah’s air from harmful pollution. The battle over that idea is about to heat up, about a year after Governor Gary Herbert announced plans to idle wood stoves in northern Utah for the entire winter.

Courtesy: / Utah State Parks

Utah’s state parks will continue a new tradition this year by offering guided hikes at six locations on New Year’s Day.

Judy Fahys/KUER

 

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman says he might look to the county for legal help after he was told to find a new lawyer to fight federal criminal charges over an ATV protest he led last spring.

Courtesy: / City of Provo

Christmas trees have brightened the holidays throughout the Salt Lake Valley for weeks. Soon they can repurposed by being recycled.

plakboek / Flickr Creative Commons

More Christmas gifts and parties mean more waste.  And the Salt Lake Valley Waste and Recycling District says customers can cut that waste by recycling more.

Cathy / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmentalists want state regulators to come up with a tougher plan to clean up air pollution in rural Utah caused by coal-fired power plants.

Don Sharaf / American Avalanche Institute

Jim Steenburgh began probing the deep questions about the Greatest Snow on Earth since he settled in Utah after college.

Fusatia / Flickr Creative Commons

    

Utah lawmakers will be taking a hard look next year at how much water developers pledge for each new property.

Mike Mozart / Flickr Creative Commons

Gas prices are tumbling, thanks to a glut of petroleum on the world market. That may be great for consumers, but it’s tough for Utah’s petroleum industry and the state budget.

Utah Department of Transportation

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced plans Wednesday to tighten limits on ground-level ozone pollution.

“The science clearly tells us that ozone poses a real threat to our health,” said McCarthy in a conference call with reporters, “especially to growing children and older Americans and those of us with heart or lung conditions and those who are active or who work outside.”

Courtesy: / Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office

Utah lawmakers will have to wait a little longer for an analysis of a federal lands transfer.

The state public lands policy coordinating office told them Wednesday a report on transferring federal lands to state hands still needs finishing touches.

Assistant Attorney General Tony Rampton said the analysis is clear-eyed, scrupulously objective and exhaustive at nearly 800 pages.

EnergySolutions

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is planning to consolidate two state agencies to improve efficiency.

Utah’s Radiation Control Division oversees everything from dental X-ray machines to a massive radioactive waste site, and the proposal has scientists and engineers joining the state’s solid and hazardous waste program. DEQ Director Amanda Smith says the plan retains staff expertise and institutional knowledge.

Arby Reed / Flickr Creative Commons

A new snapshot of the nation’s water use shows a downward trend.

But Utah is using more water, according to the

U.S. Geological Survey’s five-year study,  based on 2010 data,  shows the nation’s homes, farms, industry and power plants are using significantly less water than they have in more than four decades.

Utah bucked that trend, using 7 percent more water than in 2005.

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

    

Regulators are relying on a growing body of scientific information to craft better pollution controls for the energy industry. They’re drawing on some of the results that scientists have gathered on the Uinta Basin’s ozone pollution problem.

Andrea Smardon / KUER News

Democrat Donna McAleer took a second run this year at unseating Republican Rob Bishop in this First Congressional District rematch. But voters opted once again to return the incumbent to Congress.

Rob Bishop asked voters to send him back to Washington for a seventh term so he can lead the House Natural Resources Committee. He won with 64 percent of the vote.

At the Republican election night party, Bishop reminded the crowd that the GOP will control both the House and the Senate during his next term.

Maj. D.J. Gibb / Utah Army National Guard

    

The UN climate change panel issued its latest status report this weekend. The group says the world must act swiftly to avert the risks in a rapidly warming planet. IN Utah, local efforts are already underway.

Erik Crosman / University of Utah

Utah’s winter pollution season officially gets underway this weekend, and thanks to $1 million from the Legislature, new research is focusing on what causes the state’s air-quality problems and how to solve them.

A dozen studies will look hard at what makes sooty winter pollution so nasty in Utah and why ground level ozone gets so high. They also will zero in on air chemistry and the weather’s role.

Courtesy: / National Weather Service

October’s been warmer and drier than usual so far in Utah. The warm trend is expected to continue into winter, but forecasters can’t say how much rain and snow will fall in the coming months.

The National Weather Service’s long-term outlook says normal precipitation is just as likely this winter as especially wet -- or dry --weather.  But the state’s had three extra dry years in a row, and that might be the single most important factor ahead.

The Grand County Council voted Tuesday to join a coalition that wants to build a road, a pipeline and a rail line for eastern Utah energy. The upcoming election could prove to be a referendum on that decision.

Pages