Energy & Environment


Salt Lake City-based EnergysSolutions announced big changes last week that could affect its Utah operations.

Natural Resources Conservation Service/USDA

  Imagine a time when Utah’s flooded – not with water but Californians and other people trying to flee the effects of climate change.

It’s one of the uncertainties about Utah’s water, thanks to climate change and an issue being discussed at the Salt Lake County Watershed Symposium in West Valley City.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Main Canyon is an oasis in the high-mountain desert of the Tavaputs Plateau even during midsummer during a drought.

Burt and Christine DeLambert have raised cattle here for nearly four decades. But they’d never seen anything like this before: a dozen trout belly up dead in their spring-fed pond.

Utah Clean Energy

Utility regulators at the Utah Public Service Commission have been considering the question for months: How should PacifiCorp factor the costs and benefits of rooftop solar power into their rates?

Judy Fahys/KUER


Climate change activists urged the Natural History Museum of Utah on Tuesday to cut itself free of fossil fuel money.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The popular Land and Conservation Water Fund has pumped more than $17 billion into thousands of projects nationwide in a half century. Around $171 million has gone into Utah projects like building neighborhood playgrounds, developing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and restoring wildlife habitat.

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

Most years Salt Lake City’s tomato plants are killed in a hard freeze by Halloween. But this October was the warmest on record at 60.5 degrees average. Flip-flops were comfortable for trick or treating and tomatoes even survived the holiday.

Those mild temperatures are a sign that the new water season is getting off to a slow start in Utah.

Bob Nelson

Officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that they are awarding a $1.2 million dollar grant to the University of Utah. The money will fund a 3-year study on the impact of drought and extreme events on water quality.

Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Air Quality

In the month of November, winter inversions start to return to the Wasatch Front and Northern Utah valleys. That means particulate matter from wood-burning can get trapped by the mountains.

Wolfgang Staudt / Wikimedia Commons

Economists from three Utah universities say repayment costs for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline would be way out of reach for water users in Washington County.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has tapped a county councilman and former state legislator to continue building the agency that turns land and minerals into funding for public schools.

Kevin Lewis / Idaho Rivers United

Federal regulators are snubbing plans for a new dam on the Bear River in Idaho that’s has lots of local critics.

The Twin Lakes Canal Company in Idaho wants to build the dam to generate 10 megawatts of energy and to store irrigation water, but staffers for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission say a license should be rejected on environmental grounds.

Josh Ewing

An extraordinary coalition of Western tribal leaders is petitioning for a new conservation area in southeastern Utah.

Denny Armstrong / Flickr Creative Commons

The Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study is a dry-sounding report on water that many people call the lifeblood of the West, the vast Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people in Utah and six other states.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Many Utah leaders are applauding last week's federal court ruling that stymies updates to federal clean water regulations. In the end, they’re looking to the courts and Congress to kill the rules.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The water year begins on October 1st, and the water community is hoping a string of dry years is finally coming to an end.

Ryan Luke, an engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Provo Area office, says a few reservoirs are at close to normal levels but most are low for this time of year.

Two cement-company partners and their businesses are accused of illegally dumping building waste in wetlands near the Jordan River.

Screen Shot / House Natural Resources Committee YouTube Channel

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert used a congressional hearing Wednesday to drive home his top message as chairman of the National Governors Association: States govern better.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, hosted the oversight hearing on respecting state authority in managing resources and developing energy.

Judy Fahys

Utah water watchers are reminding Wasatch Front residents that October 1st is the time of year to stop watering lawns and gardens.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Fall colors in Utah’s mountains are getting people thinking about prospects for a snowy winter. Weather forecasters also have been thinking about it, especially the role the strong El Nino might play and how “the Blob” could factor in.

Photo by Phil Douglass, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources</i>

Interest groups across the political spectrum stood behind federal leaders Tuesday as they announced the Greater Sage Grouse won’t be added to endangered species list. The solution didn’t suit Utahns on either end of the political spectrum, even after U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said states can stick with strategies they’re already using to restore the iconic bird on millions of acres in 11 states. Jewell praised the approach as a model for the future.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Environmental activist and NASCAR driver Leilani Munter is in Utah, talking about her efforts to fight climate change. She’s speaking Tuesday night at the University of Utah as part of a series called Trailblazers of Clean Energy.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Salt Lake City has put its big open-space bond measure on hold. But that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm throughout the valley for restoring the Jordan River.

Here at Oxbow Nature Park, money from the 2010 Red Butte oil spill has helped build wetlands where railroad cars used to roll by. These meanders and pools now provide habitat for birds and fish and control storm water. And the riverside vegetation helps remove toxic chemicals from the soil.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah agriculture and wildlife officials have joined together to help backyard poultry producers understand the threat of avian flu.

Backyard chickens may be enjoying this pleasant summer afternoon in their Sugar House pen, but the people who oversee wild and domestic birds in Utah are scrambling to protect them from avian flu.

Brian Grimmett

Legislators continued their two-day site visit through rural Utah Thursday with visits to Emery and Sanpete counties.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker wants to get children outdoors and inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.

Used by permission /

This text was updated on 9/18 with the latest death tally.  

Weather forecasters say the risk of flash floods is fading in southwestern Utah after waves swept 20 people to their deaths on Monday. Meanwhile, forecasters are already looking towards preventing future tragedies.

Linh Do / Via Flickr Creative Commons

Critics of the Obama administration’s climate change policies gathered Tuesday in Washington, D.C., across the street from the White House. 

One of them was Tim DeChristopher, who says it's time to take a harder line.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A bit of science history goes on display at the Utah Museum of Natural History this weekend, giving Utah a new perspective on Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking book on evolution and one of the pigeons that helped shape its ideas.


The Nature Conservancy has a new tool to combat invasive plants on marshes along the Great Salt Lake.