Energy & Environment

Union Pacific Railroad / From a Utah DWQ status report

Union Pacific Railroad is delaying plans to breach a causeway that separates the north and south arms of the Great Salt Lake.

hknoblauch / istockphoto.com

Rex Larsen grows alfalfa, corn and seed barley and raises cattle on his farm west of Spanish Fork. He’s fifth generation and thinking about retiring.

“That’s a real challenge for me as I look at the future.”

Phil Douglas, UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES

The coal lease auction of 6200 acres scheduled for Thursday has been postponed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake City office.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Congressman Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative sparked a testy debate on the control of public lands on Wednesday even while it received praise all around at its first hearing in Washington.  That’s because it’s considered a rare public lands compromise that sets boundaries for conservation, mining and off-roading.

hknoblauch / istockphoto.com

A state task force is polishing its report to Gov. Gary Herbert on preparing for Utah’s future water needs. Some environmentalists are criticizing the group for snubbing public input.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

A congressional committee takes a look on Thursday at the Utah Public Lands Initiative, the proposal billed as an alternative to a Bears Ears National Monument.

ES3N/istockphoto.com

Low water on the Great Salt Lake is raising concern. The worries are economic and ecological as the water dips close to the lowest level it’s ever been.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Carlos Wheeldon dreamed about the world-famous salt speedway as a child growing up in England. He’s traveled to Utah nine times to be part of the World of Speed race that takes place each fall on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah’s West Desert. And this year he’s worried.

tawatchaiprakobkit, iStockphoto.com

Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park is now officially an International Dark Sky Park. The designation announced Tuesday comes from the non-profit International Dark-Sky Association in Tucson, Arizona.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Coloradoan David Krimstock is heading out to get a better feel for the trails and prepare for the Park City Point 2 Point mountain bike race. During a couple of practice runs on the dusty mountain tracks, he saw firsthand just how hot and dry Utah’s summer was.

temis / istockphoto.com

Ryan Evans is actually looking forward to what would normally a pretty dull legislative meeting this month, when the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee  reviews the state’s $2,000 solar-panel tax credit. Evans is the new leader of the Utah Solar Energy Association, and he’s excited about sharing the good news his industry has for Utah’s economy.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Carl Ingwell says he had no idea corporations were contributing to the environmental humanities program. Then he saw developers like Kennecott Land and the Boyer Company listed as “friends” of environmental humanities.  Ingwell also saw the Utah Mining Association and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation on the list.

zhengzaishuru / istockphoto.com

Environmentalists have launched a new campaign against climate change. They’re trying to slow oil and gas development on public lands just as the energy industry is trying to get the federal government to step it up.

The Uintah Basin Energy Summit takes place this week, and the controversy’s started even before the program begins. That’s because Wednesday’s keynote speech is being given by prominent climate change denier, Marc Morano.

Scott Daly / Utah Department of Environmental Quality

The worst of a silt spill at the Tibble Fork Dam has passed. Now health and environment officials are assessing the extent of the damage and risks ahead.

“We’re in response mode right now to be able to alert the public if there are concerns,” Walt Baker is director of the Utah Division of Water Quality. “That will all be spelled out in our release of the data.”

AndrewSoundarajan/ / istockphoto.com

Utah is home to five parks, seven national monuments and a national historic site. They’re part of the national park system’s centennial celebration this week even as a debate continues about federal management of public lands.

Utah Division of Water Quality

Seventy-five-thousand dollars. That’s the sum the state paid for two week’s worth of testing at Utah Lake during the height of last month’s cyanobacteria outbreak. July’s heat combined with pollution from runoff and sewer plants created a poisonous stew of toxic bacteria and thick mats of green sludge. Health and environment officials fielded hundreds of calls.

David Morgan / istockphoto.com

Four whitewater greats – including three women -- will be inducted soon into the River Runners’ Hall of Fame.

ChloeChiocch/iStockPhoto.com

Federal water officials decided this week that there’s enough water in Lake Mead to keep up with deliveries in Arizona, Nevada and California next year. That cheered downstream users of the Colorado River, who have been anxiously awaiting word on whether the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation might begin emergency cuts in the water Lake Mead provides Arizona and Nevada.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

British and American leaders signed the Migratory Bird Treaty a century ago.  These days the Great Salt Lake plays an important role in carrying out the mission of that international treaty and others that followed.

“It was amazing, forward thinking at that time,“ says Katie McVey, a wildlife refuge specialist at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah.

National Interagency Fire Center

Jessica Wade began her career in wildland firefighting in her hometown of Vernal. This month she’s stepping into a new role, becoming the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s State Fire Management Officer for Utah during what’s often the busiest time of the year in the Great Basin for wildfire.

The Sutherland Institute

The conservative Sutherland Institute has released a new video that argues against the Bears Ears National Monument proposal.

The video’s headline asks if the Obama administration will stifle the American dream in Utah’s poorest county. It features children saying what they want to be when they grow up, maybe a cowboy or a rancher.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Environmental groups fighting what would be Utah’s first nuclear power plant are dropping their lawsuit over water rights. But they say they’re not abandoning the cause.

“What we are doing is essentially moving from fighting this in the courts to fighting it in the marketplace,” says Matt Pacenza, director of HEAL Utah.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse has given 144 speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate about addressing climate change.

iStockphoto.com: johnnya123

Senator Mike Lee explained in a town hall meeting last month why he and Senator Orrin Hatch think federal land managers have it wrong when they forbid mountain biking in places where the Wilderness Act outlaws motorized vehicles.

“I don’t read it that way,” he told a caller. “Senator Hatch and I both believe that was a mistake in interpretation.”

Judy Fahys / KUER News

The last week of July is normally Utah’s hottest, but the pattern lately stands out. The National Weather Service has reported nine days in a row when temperatures reached 100 degrees or above. That’s one day shy of the longest run ever. The weather service also reported three weeks straight of temperatures 95 degrees or higher – the all-time longest.

Utah Department of Administrative Services

State officials have narrowed down the specific parcel of land where Utah’s new state prison will be built. But some environmentalists say they need more information to feel comfortable with that decision.

Screen Shot: / senator-mike-lee-tv

Both sides in the Bears Ears fight have called for compromise. But it increasingly looks unlikely they’ll find middle ground following a rowdy U.S. Senate field hearing Wednesday in Blanding.

emrah gAltekin / istockphoto.com

A state appeals court has rejected a challenge by environmental groups who were trying to block plans for Utah’s first nuclear power plant. Now one of those environmental groups is challenging the nuclear company’s plan to move forward.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Senator Mike Lee is hosting a field hearing in southeastern Utah today on the proposed Bears Ears National Monument, and Congressman Rob Bishop and Governor Gary Herbert are scheduled to testify. They oppose a tribal coalition's proposal to create the monument here, and they want to persuade the Obama administration that Utah doesn’t want it. But U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell heard different views when she visited the area earlier this month. KUER's Judy Fahys caught up with her after a listening session as members of the tribal coalition gathered in a meadow below Bears Ears Buttes.

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