Energy & Environment

Judy Fahys/KUER

The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation has been taking a hard look at the Colorado River Basin, exploring ways to deal with the reality that the Colorado River can’t always deliver all of the water that people demand.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The weather forecast includes a decent chance of rain through the holiday weekend. It’s going to spoil plenty of outdoor activities, but some Utahns are grateful for the relief it’s brought, at least for the time being.

Grantsville farmer Ernest Matthews is one. He welcomes this rainy May for what its done for the range his cows graze and the alfalfa he grows.

Utah Clean Energy

The energy industry has been in Utah’s capital city this week to talk about trends, and one word kept popping up everywhere: clean.

Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute told reporters: “We’re leading the world to improve the cleanliness and energy consumption.”

Garrett / Flickr Creative Commons

A state energy official told lawmakers Wednesday that cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants could be costly for Utah.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to cut the emissions linked to climate change hasn’t been finalized yet, but Utah’s energy officials and electricity producers worry that the new emission controls could hit Utah hard.

File: Californiawaterblog.com

A former graduate student in biology at the University of Utah has just published the largest study to date of salmon movements in Alaska.

Robert Young / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has been embroiled in controversy over inventory management and low morale. But Governor Gary Herbert said Thursday he’s comfortable with the way things are going now.

Per / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study zeroes in on those odd times when bird flocks bypass their usual winter habitats because of the climate.

Pine siskins are small songbirds that settle sometimes outside their normal winter hangouts.

Source: Tesoro

Tesoro has pressed the pause button on plans to build a petroleum pipeline halfway across northern Utah.

The San Antonio-based petroleum company informed Summit County leaders last week that current market conditions were behind their decision to put a hold on its Uinta Express Pipeline.

Governor Gary Herbert’s top environment advisor is taking on a challenging new role, leading the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

“The mission of the Department of Environmental Quality,” says the governor, “really is, and I’ll quote, ‘to protect human health and quality of life by protecting and enhancing the environment’.”

Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake County Council is preparing to vote on a resolution calling for people to follow smart water conservation guidelines.

Don Anderson / Flickr Creative Commons

Western ski towns including Park City are backing a proposal to reform the royalty system for coal mined on federal lands. The reason: Climate change is dragging down their economies, says a coalition called the Mountain Pact.

The group says Park City will lose $120 million dollars in lower output, 1,137 jobs and more than $20 million dollars in paychecks thanks to a shrinking snowpack and less tourism. The Utah ski town has joined ten other mountain communities that want to combat the problem through reforms to federal coal-leasing programs.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Scott Jones steers a snowmobile into the T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest deep in the mountains above Logan. He’s a soils physicist at Utah State University, and he’s studying how forests use and store water.

“Understanding the processes up here will help us anticipate what’s happening in the valleys and streams,” he says.

Jones and a colleague measure water the snowpack’s holding after Utah’s warmest and driest winter on record. Data like this can help water managers plan for the future.

Brian Grimmett

After finding veligers, or baby quagga mussels, in a water sample taken last year, staff from the Utah Department of Natural Resources began testing to determine if the invasive mussel has infested Deer Creek Reservoir.

Terry Gildea/KUER

Getting water from streams, lakes and reservoirs to homes and businesses is challenging for any city utility.  Pipe valves leak. Water mains can break. Aging infrastructure can allow gallons of treated water to escape the system before ever getting to where it needs to go.  As our series Utah’s Uncertain Water Future continues, we look at how Salt Lake City water managers are trying to maintain a sophisticated pipe system and stay ahead of leaks.

Gary Turnier / KUED

We can't see aquifers, but these underground water reservoirs make life possible in the West. As we continue our series on Utah's Uncertain Water Future, we explore the consequences of mining groundwater in Utah’s Cedar Valley.

Water managers have a chart that shows Utah’s water demands will outstrip supplies by 2040 and say it shows why the state should start expensive water development projects now.

The Legislature’s auditors spent more than a year basically fact-checking that chart, and at a hearing Tuesday they informed lawmakers important decisions about Utah’s water are being made with unreliable data.

Flickr creative commons

When we turn on our faucets at home we expect water to come rushing out of them on demand. It’s easy not to think about where that water comes from or how it’s treated.  But with climate change and persistent droughts across the West, many city water managers have to find creative ways to supply growing populations with the water they need.  We continue our series, Utah’s Uncertain Water Future, with a look at the sophisticated system that brings clean drinking water to the residents of Salt Lake City.

Judy Fahys/KUER

In a parched corner of the nation's second driest state, the Virgin River delivers life-giving water to wildlife, farms and increasing numbers of people.

Ron Thompson sees a future when four times as many people could be living here in St. George, and they’ll need more water than the Virgin can provide. That’s why he wants the Lake Powell Pipeline.

Brian Grimmett

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report ranks Salt Lake City’s air 7th worst in the nation. On a report card, that’s an “F” in ozone and single-day particle pollution.

Dan Bammes

Environmental advocates are appealing a decision to issue an air quality permit allowing expansion of the HollyFrontier refinery in Davis County.

Andrea Smardon

Primatologist Jane Goodall was speaking in Salt Lake City at a sold-out event Friday evening about her work and the future of chimpanzees. But in the afternoon, she lent her fame and clout to a more controversial cause. Goodall appeared with Steven Druker, the author of a book that aims to wipe out genetically modified organisms from the world’s food supply.

Warren Hanratty via Creative Commons

Several dry winters have prompted two local governments to offer tools to help Utahns save water.

Courtesy photo

Salt Lake City is the first US stop on the world tour of author Steven Druker, an attorney who sued the US Food and Drug Administration over its policy on genetically engineered foods. He’s in town talking about his new book, “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth,” with a little help from primatologist Jane Goodall.

Brian Grimmett

The Environmental Protection Agency has officially removed the newly redeveloped Midvale Slag site from the Superfund National Priorities List.

KUED

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s still not sure people have a role in causing climate change.

A reporter asked Utah’s Republican governor on Thursday whether Utah’s lean snowpack and possible water shortages are the result of climate change.

Tax Day Storm Stands Out

Apr 15, 2015
USU Webcam

The storm that bounded into Utah Tuesday stands out as an epic weather event for a number of reasons.

Wind gusts topped 60 miles an hour at dozens of Utah locations. Blowing dust pushed air-pollution measurements into the hazardous range. And temperatures plummeted 29 degrees between afternoon and evening.

Flickr: Ray Terrill

Rio Tinto stadium is set to be the home of the largest privately owned solar arrays in Utah. The new solar arrays will provide more than 2 megawatts of power to the stadium, offsetting 73% of its electric needs.

USU and Yale University

Researchers at Utah State University and Yale University have mapped public opinion about global warming across the US. Their study published Monday in Nature Climate Change reveals the diversity of opinions at state and local levels.

File: Delta Disaster Services

Among the bills Governor Gary Herbert signed into law earlier this week is HB 396, which prevents the Utah Department of Environmental Quality from placing a season-long ban on wood burning.

Lynn Kitchen / NCRS

Utah’s warm, dry winter means a measly snowmelt, and water-watchers are already writing off this water year as one of the state’s driest ever even though it’s just halfway over.

Most years, the dogs splashing in Parley’s Creek would find the water here cold and swift with spring snowmelt. But the stream’s running at about one-third of normal for this time of year, and that’s as good as it’s going to get. Forecasters say there’s no more runoff to look forward to.

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