Energy & Environment

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.

Flickr: Laura Nawrocik

The Utah House has passed a bill that would require culinary water providers to charge based on a tiered rater structure.

File photo: alta.com

Alta Ski Resort will be offering preferred parking spots on select days to skiers who carpool up the canyon. The program is part of a study through the University of Utah's Environmental and Sustainability Studies program in partnership with the Alta Environmental Center.

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.

Utah's Uncertain Water Future

Feb 2, 2016

Following Utah's hottest and driest winter on record, KUER News explored some of the most important questions of our time. Should taxpayer money be spent to develop additional water resources?  What are the consequences of extracting too much groundwater? How much is wasted from outdated water pipes? What role will climate change play as our population grows? Utah's Uncertain Water Future tells stories that span the state attempting to answer these questions and more.

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.

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.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah Senate has passed a bill that its sponsor hopes will help communities better conserve water.

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.

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.”

Brian Grimmett KUER

35 electric vehicles have been sold or leased in the past two and a half weeks through a program called U Drive Electric.

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.

A one-of-its-kind science experiment is in the making as the northern arm of the Great Salt Lake hits its lowest level in modern history.

Thirteen miles of railroad track stretches between Promontory Point and Lakeside on the western shore of the Great Salt Lake, and the rock causeway supporting those tracks has made water levels fall in the lake’s northern arm to the lowest level ever measured. Water in the south arm is now two feet higher.

Whittney Evans / KUER News

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was part of the U.S. delegation to the Paris climate talks earlier this month. He’s had a little time now to reflect on the discussions -- and the historic agreement to limit the pollution that’s speeding up global warming. KUER's Judy Fahys sat down with the mayor as he prepares to leave office to find out why he participated and what's at stake for Salt Lake City in dealing with climate change.

Whittney Evans

Utah Transit Authority is prepared to run more buses on cleaner fuels with its brand new compressed natural gas fueling station.

Salt Lake County Regional Development

The newly formed Mountain Planning Commission of Salt Lake County is set to have its inaugural meeting in the first week of the New Year.

Judy Fahys/KUER

They’ve filled the room with evergreen scent. They’ve filled families with Christmas cheer. Now those live Christmas trees can serve yet another purpose – as compost.   

The tree-composting campaign is part of a broader program in the Salt Lake Valley to encourage all forms of recycling.

Linde Cater / National Park Service

The first draft of a proposal to construct a giant straw from Lake Powell to southwestern Utah has landed on the desk of federal regulators just as new concerns about the project are being raised in the State Capitol.

Judy Fahys/KUER

U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer sentenced San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman to ten days in jail and three years of probation. The charges stem from leading dozens of ATV protestors into an archeologically rich canyon last year that the federal government had closed to motorized vehicles.

Don Sharaf / American Avalanche Institute

  Three days of snow has reminded Utah of what life’s like in a mountain state after last year’s paltry winter.

Jim Steenburgh , a University of Utah atmospheric scientist, wrote the book Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth, and he’s known online as Professor Powder. Like many Utahns, he was pleased with this week’s three-day snowstorm.

“It was great,” he says. “I enjoyed it.”

Judy Fahys/KUER

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s back in federal court this week. He’s being sentenced for organizing a protest ride into Recapture Canyon last year in a case that’s often compared with the prosecution of another person who challenged authority: climate-change activist Tim DeChristopher. 

Ricky Romero / Flickr Creative Commons

The Legislature’s auditors checked operations at some of Utah’s water improvement districts, and they say most of those districts need to tidy up routine operations.

The Legislative Auditor General’s office focused on 16 districts that provide culinary water but no other services. They found 10 needing fine tuning with tasks like bookkeeping, planning and procurement.

Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center

The Wasatch Front’s first major winter storm of the season has brought several inches of snow, and with it an increased danger for avalanches.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Weather watchers at Salt Lake City’s National Weather Service office are telling Utahns what they might have already guessed: It’s been an exceptionally warm fall.

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