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

A Senate panel was poised Tuesday to begin discussing abolishing the death penalty in Utah.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George, SB 189, would eliminate the punishment after nine convicts currently on Utah’s Death Row are executed.

Jean Hill, who represents the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, says she doesn’t expect the legislation to pass this year but hopes it’s the beginning of a conversation.

Democratic state lawmakers fought unsuccessfully Tuesday to block a bill that would reorganize key legislative committees and amount to what they call a power grab.

Youtube Screenshot whitehouse.gov/live

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and other governors met with President Barack Obama on Monday at the White House.

KUER News

What happens if state leaders succeed in forcing the federal government to hand over control of more than 30 million acres in Utah?

Cory Dinter

Terry Tempest Williams is, for many Americans, the voice of Utah’s wildlands. A Utahn, she’s an author who took on a surprising new role this week. She and her husband, Brooke Williams, were protesting a U.S. Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction, when they ended up buying energy rights on public land in southern Utah, some of them within sight of Arches National Park. Williams sat down with KUER’s Judy Fahys on Wednesday in the KUER studios to talk about how and why she’s become a wildcatter.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Health and environment advocates have said  HB 316 , a bill updating Utah building codes, might be the biggest air-quality bill of the year, but they didn’t get an opportunity to voice their concerns about it Tuesday to the lawmakers considering the legislation. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

Many see Rep. Ken Ivory, R-South Jordan, as the father of the lands-transfer movement. He calls last month’s death of rancher LeVoy Finicum tragic, but he also sees what happened in Oregon as proof of how frustrated Westerners are about the federal government trampling their rights.  

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah senators passed a bill Friday to start saving money for big water projects in a move opposed on environmental and fiscal grounds.

Dan Bammes

Some Utah agencies and politicians are applauding a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

Soren Harward / Wikipedia Commons

Utah already has a state vegetable (the Spanish red onion), a state insect (the honeybee) and even a state firearm (the Browning M1911 automatic pistol).

Courtesy: / Tesoro Corp.

Utah’s petroleum refineries aren’t legally required to make the super-clean Tier 3 fuel. But the state’s largest refinery has decided to produce that fuel anyhow in what’s seen as an important move for Wasatch Front air quality.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Money issues have prompted a temporary slowdown of work in eastern Utah on the first tar sands mine in the U.S.

Mountain Accord / Facebook

The collaborative behind a new plan for the central Wasatch is getting ready to untangle the Cottonwood canyons’ traffic jams. They’re looking at buses as the quickest solution for now.

707d3k / Flickr Creative Commons

A state lawmaker says it’s time for the Utah Legislature to reopen the discussion about reproductive health.

Minority Leader Brian King is a Democrat representing Salt Lake City, and he's is also the father of four daughters. With them in mind, he wants age-appropriate facts about sex to be available to students. His new bill calls for comprehensive sex education in Utah junior high and high schools.

State environmental regulators want input from Utahns about reducing the pollution blamed for climate change.

Utah’s joined 24 other states to fight the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in court.

At the same time, state regulators have been drafting a state plan to comply with the new rules.

Courtesy: / U.S. Bureau of Land Management

State leaders and a congressman pledged on Friday to keep fighting Washington on behalf of rural Utah.

The governor and lieutenant governor both served on county commissions early in their careers. So it was no surprise on “Rural Legislative Day” at the State Capitol that they promised to back up local leaders on issues like boosting jobs and education. And, like them, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop said he’ll keep taking rural Utah’s side against what they call federal overreach.

Screenshot / Facebook

A leader of the armed occupation at an Oregon wildlife refuge urged his supporters on Thursday to avoid further bloodshed. Now observers are wondering how the issues will play out.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A Senate panel signed off Wednesday on using sales taxes to help pay for water projects, including the controversial Lake Powell Pipeline.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Federal regulators visited Salt Lake City Tuesday to hear from Utahns about how to deal with the haze that plagues national parks of the West. People from Utah’s coal country and its environmental community gave U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials an earful of advice Tuesday.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court assured lawmakers Monday the state of Utah’s judiciary is sound. But he requested some needed improvements, too.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The 2016 General Session of the Utah Legislature begins Monday, and lawmakers already have more than a dozen initiatives on their agenda aimed at improving air quality.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Climate scientists said this week that 2015 was the warmest year on record globally and the second warmest in the United States. And Utah was relatively toasty, too.

Data from the Utah Climate Center at Utah State University shows last year was the 3rd warmest in around 130 years of counting. At an average of 51.2 degrees Fahrenheit for the year, that’s 4.4 degrees warmer than average.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A comprehensive land-use proposal for eastern Utah made its public debut Wednesday -- three years after Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, began stitching together support in rural Utah between disparate user groups.

Dugway Proving Ground

A watchdog group says Utahns should be keeping tabs on operations at Dugway Proving Ground after the test center for biological and chemical weapons in Tooele County was stripped of its mission to produce anthrax for other labs to use.

Screenshot / Utah Office of Energy Development

Utahns had a mixed response to the announcement Friday that the Interior Department’s launching an in-depth review of federal coal programs.

Screenshot, 3:14 p.m. Jan. 14, 2016: / purpleair.org

The fight over dust from a Salt Lake Valley gravel pit has produced a new network of air-quality monitors all along the Wasatch Front.

Bryan Jones / Flickr Creative Commons

Delivering drinking water to 350,000 customers, catching stormwater, moving wastewater and keeping the streetlights on aren’t exactly action-hero tasks.  But Jeff Niermeyer prevented a local environmental disaster from becoming an international one nearly six years ago. That’s when thick crude oil poured from a Chevron pipeline, down Red Butte Creek and through the heart of the city into Liberty Park.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The search for solutions to Utah’s winter pollution episodes has focused on industrial smokestacks and the tailpipes of cars and trucks. But homes and businesses represent a big  and growing  part of the problem. They're  called “area sources” and KUER wanted to find out why it’s so hard to cut their emissions.

Colorado River Basin Forecast Center Screenshot

The skies have been generous to Utah in the past few weeks, sprinkling the entire state with more snow and rain than normal. But that’s only part of the story about Utah’s water conditions.

“Our snow situation for today,” says Greg Smith, senior hydrologist for the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, “it doesn’t look too bad.”

National Park Service Web Page

Outdoor industry leaders unveiled plans Thursday for celebrating the upcoming centennial of the national parks.

The Outdoor Retailer winter trade show is back in Salt Lake City this week, bringing together around 25,000 representatives from companies that make clothing and equipment for outdoor recreation, along with advocacy groups that promote public lands protection.

Pages