A view from Josie Morris Cabin Road in the Uintas. Lawmakers continue to debate the fate of public lands that are currently in federal hands. Lawmakers have demanded that the federal agencies turn over control of that land to the state. About 2/3 of the lands in Utah are controlled by the federal government.
Credit Courtesy: / Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office
The Radiation Control Division would be folded into the Solid and Hazardous Waste Division, under a proposal being discussed at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. The Utah Legislature is expected to have a bill in the upcoming session.
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.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was in Washington D.C. today presenting the final recommendations of the White House Climate Change Task Force.
Last November, Mayor Becker and 25 other State, Local and Tribal leaders from across the country were picked to join the task force. Over the past year, Becker says the group compared notes on how the warming climate is impacting their respective communities.
Students at Pacific Heritage Academy spent the morning planting foliage next to their building’s storm drain. The work is part of the Lower Jordan River Restoration Project.
As part of a greater study of Utah’s water system, students at Pacific Heritage Academy planted nine different types of trees and shrubs in front of their school. The “habitat patch” as it’s called will help absorb storm runoff from the school’s parking lot and provide nesting grounds for birds. Hilary Ward is a Teacher at the academy. She says the work is much more than just storm water management.
Eagle Mountain City voters have decided they want Rocky Mountain Power to provide their electric service. Eagle Mountain has been managing their own utilities since the city was founded in 1996 with 250 residents. But Mayor Chris Pengra says the city has since grown to more than 25,000 people, and the population is expected to quadruple by 2050. Pengra says if the city continued to run the utilities, it would have to issue bonds to accommodate the growth, and that would drive up rates.
Imagine a cellphone or a laptop that runs on jet fuel. New research at the University of Utah is showing how that could happen.
Chemistry professor Shelley Minteer and her team have demonstrated how enzymes extracted from bacteria can be used to make fuel cells that operate at room temperature. The enzymes create a chemical reaction that generates electricity from a kind of military jet fuel called JP-8. Minteer says you don’t need much.
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.
A national environmental group is raising concerns about proposed plans to upgrade mobile phone service in Yellowstone National Park.
The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility argues there’s just no need for high-speed mobile service at Yellowstone. Executive Director Jeff Ruch says the Park Service shouldn’t have to pay for the kind of infrastructure needed for streaming movies.
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.
A complex court case involving winter ozone pollution in Utah’s Uintah Basin came before an appeals court in Washington DC Tuesday morning. The central question is how much federal regulators need to know before they can act to control pollution.
Back in 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency decided the winter ozone problem in the Uintah Basin was “unclassifiable,” and it decided not to designate it as a non-attainment area for federal ozone standards. Environmental groups sued, arguing the EPA had all the information it needed to act.
The Utah Legislature appropriated two million dollars to try to avoid an endangered species listing for the greater sage grouse. The consulting firm hired to do that presented its report to the legislature today on its work so far.
Environmental officials have confirmed that levels of toxic algae are elevated at Utah Lake. But they say ordinary activities are fine as long as people steer clear of the bright blue-ish green blooms.
Water tests came back on Thursday showing some of the pond scum on Utah Lake has reached worrisome levels. Environmental officials tested the blue green algae near the Lindon Marina on Monday, after they heard that a dog that had been playing in it died Sunday.
Nine Mile Canyon near Price is famous around the world for its rock art, which dates back a thousand years or more. Federal land managers want some guidance on how to manage the area so the public can enjoy it.
The Bureau of Land Management is starting work on an environmental assessment for Nine Mile Canyon. There are as many as 100-thousand Native American rock art images on the canyon walls, but it’s also close to some of Utah’s most productive oil and gas fields.
The report is the third in a series of studies looking at the impacts population growth will have on Utah. It looked at the challenges Utah’s water supply could be facing and came with several recommendations, including moving away from funding water agencies with property taxes, and toward funding them with increased water rates.
State lawmakers hosted a freewheeling discussion Wednesday on the impact of federal land ownership and policies on Utahns. But their hearing focused almost exclusively on criticizing the federal government.
For more than two years state lawmakers have had an eye on transferring the control of federal lands to Utah. On Wednesday, a House-Senate panel heard more than a dozen witnesses describe their frustrations with feds.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he has a promise from the Obama administration – there won’t be a new national monument appearing suddenly on the map of Southern Utah.
Governor Herbert was in Washington DC last week and spoke with U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. He told reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED that Jewell promised there would be no designation of a Greater Canyonlands National Monument without some advance notice.
Tuesday's Morgan County Council meeting has been getting national attention because of a land-use planning question that could impact the sage grouse. But the council may put off a vote on the issue to allow for further study.
At the last meeting two weeks ago, the Morgan County council split 3 to 3 on the question of whether to change the land use designation on a 27-hundred acre parcel near East Canyon Reservoir. The area includes a sage grouse lek, where the birds mate and nest in the spring.
Ranchers throughout Utah feared at the beginning of this summer that the drought would be sticking around. But a remarkably wet August has transformed the landscape.
Parts of Northern Utah received almost 4 times as much water as the 30-year average. And, in southern parts of the state, the skies blessed the parched landscape with up to twice as much rain as usual.
Thursday the University of Utah became the first organization in the state to be recognized by the Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge. A recently completed project cut energy consumption by more than 40 percent in the Dumke Health Professions Education Building. It houses the Departments of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Neurobiology and Anatomy with classrooms and labs. Myron Willson is the director of the Sustainability Resource Center at the U.
The Wilderness Act turns 50 on Wednesday, and the anniversary has some Utahns thinking about the value of wild places
Congress created the formal system for protecting the nation’s wild places. It’s designated more than 107 million acres as wilderness. In Utah, 1.1 million acres of federal land has earned wilderness protection so far.
UPDATE: The council vote Tuesday evening was 3 to 3, which means the change for the 27-hundred acre parcel did NOT pass. The property owners plan to try again to win approval for the change at the next council meeting in two weeks. They’re hoping all seven members of the council will be present for that meeting and that will break the tie.
The Morgan County Council will look at a change in its master land use plan on Tuesday that could impact the future of the sage grouse in Utah.
The Utah Public Service Commission rejected on Friday a request from Rocky Mountain Power to institute a metering fee of more than four dollars a month on customers who generate their own power trough solar panels. Commission officials ruled that the private power provider did not present enough evidence to prove the proposed fee was just and reasonable. Matt Pacenza is a policy director with Heal Utah, one of several groups opposing the fee. He says Rocky Mountain Power officials didn’t present a convincing case for the fee.