Utah's forested mountains are the starting points for 70 percent of the water that serves Utahns. A new U.S. Forest Service plan for including groundwater in decision-making nationwide has been panned by the State Water Development Commission.
The U.S. Forest Service says it wants to do a better job safeguarding the nation’s groundwater. But its initiative to protect that vital resource is coming under attack in Utah and elsewhere. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports.
Rocky Mountain Power subsidizes new solar power installations through its Blue Sky program. But it’s also insisting it needs additional money from residential customers who have solar panels on their homes.
The Utah Public Service Commission is preparing for a hearing next week on Rocky Mountain Power’s request for residential solar power users to pay four dollars and 65 cents a month to connect their homes to the grid.
Washington County Water Conservancy District is concerned that unauthorized users are jumping their place in line and taking water they need for their reservoirs. Sand Hollow Reservoir is one of the district's storage sites.
A drought in southwestern Utah means there’s not enough water to fulfill the needs of all property owners in the area. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports on the priority list that’s leaving some Washington County water users dry this year.
Plans are moving forward to build a 100-mile rail line from Duchesne, through the wild Uinta Basin, and into Price. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports on the ambitious and expensive proposal to move Utah energy products into the market.
The Uinta Basin rail project is a big idea. And its price tag is big, too – as much as $4 billion. But state transportation officials estimate an even bigger financial cost if Uinta Basin oil can’t get to Wasatch Front refineries and buyers outside the state.
Utah’s current law prohibits state regulators from imposing any air quality regulations stricter than federal requirements. A bill that would change that will be up for discussion in a legislative committee this week.
An environmental group says developing oil shale in the West would require enormous amounts of water – and it’s pointing to a recent court case to back up its argument.
A court settlement last week between Western Resource Advocates and Chevron resulted in the disclosure that Chevron’s plan for developing oil shale in Colorado would require up to 120-thousand acre-feet of water annually. That’s more water than Salt Lake City uses in a year.
Salt Lake County is teaming up with HawkWatch International to help study and track the smallest falcon in North America known as the kestrel falcon.
Mike Shaw is a volunteer with the organization. Right now he’s reaching up into one of the 150 nest boxes the organization has put out across the Wasatch front and pulling out the baby kestrel falcons.
In the new campaign the DWR is asking people to “practice safe boating” by cleaning, draining, and drying their boats to prevent the spread of the “STD of the Sea.” Jordan Nielson is the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator at the DWR. He says if the mussels spread it could severely damage the state’s infrastructure used to bring water to population centers.
University of Utah atmospheric scientist John Lin is eagerly awaiting a second launch attempt of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, early tomorrow morning. Lin is a member of the NASA team studying carbon dioxide around the world. He plans to see the liftoff in person at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This morning’s planned launch of the satellite was scrubbed due to a problem with the Delta-2 rocket.
Federal regulators have extended the state's water-resources office two more years to submit its application for the 139-mile Lake Powell Pipeline. Supporters say getting the water is essential to address growth in southwestern Utah. But opponents say conservation and using the water already available will cover the region's needs.
Communities in the Southwestern part of the state want to develop Utah’s unused share of Colorado River water. A federal agency is now putting pressure on the state’s water office to hand in its application for that development.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is giving Utah two more years to put together a workable plan for the 139-mile Lake Powell Pipeline. The state’s already had six years to complete its application, and the agency hinted last month it might not extend the deadline again.
Salt Lake City officials flipped the “on” switch Wednesday celebrating the completion of three large solar projects to power city buildings. 1.7 million kilowatts of electricity annually will come from the solar farm connected to the Public Safety Building, and the city’s operation center at Plaza 349. Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker says Utah’s energy codes are 30 percent less efficient than federal standards and he says leaders at the state level need raise those standards.
Global warming is already having an impact on snowpack in Utah, says Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. The U.S. Conference of Mayors backed his resolution this weekend on finding local solutions to climate change.
Decision makers are hearing a lot about global warming this week.
The nation’s mayors backed a climate change resolution on Sunday. And, on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on the government’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, as citizen activists prepared to press Congress to deal with climate change.
Renewable energy company First Wind has finalized four more 20-year power purchase agreements, or PPA’s, with Rock Mountain Power. The latest PPA announced Thursday is for power generated from the company’s planned 320 megawatt “Four Brothers” solar development in Beaver and Iron Counties. Cody Stewart is Governor Gary Herbert’s Energy Advisor. He says the agreement has been in the works for a long time.
There’s been debate all over the West for years about who’s best to police federal lands. On Wednesday, leaders from local, state and federal government agreed the best way to resolve the disputes is to keep talking.
The annual native plant sale takes place Saturday morning at Recycle Utah in Park City. Organizers say replacing that Kentucky bluegrass with Wasatch penstemon will help conserve water - an increasingly valuable resource in Utah.
Utah is the second largest consumer of water per person in the nation, and Utahns use about two-thirds of that water on lawns and landscapes. Executive Director of Park City Conservation Association Insa Riepen says that’s an irresponsible and unnecessary use of a valuable resource.
An ATV protest last month has prompted a new, non-binding resolution from the San Juan County Commission. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it's still investigating crimes associated with the ride on a trail through Recapture Canyon that is closed to motorized vehicles.
Dozens of all-terrain-vehicle riders drove into San Juan County’s Recapture Canyon a month ago. Federal authorities say that ride into off-limits territory was illegal, but they haven’t filed any charges yet.
Now, the San Juan County Commission is asserting authority over the scenic trail in a non-binding resolution. Recapture is filled with ancient burial sites and antiquities, and county leaders say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is taking too long to decide how to safeguard them.
The runoff will start tapering to an end soon in northern Utah after near normal flows. But southern parts of the state are still starved for moisture.
Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, says many of the reservoirs in northern Utah are doing alright even though it’s been a pretty dry spring. Meanwhile, big storms have been drenching Colorado and making the Green and Colorado Rivers roar.
An aerial view of oil and gas wells in the Uinta Basin. High winter ozone threatens to bring these areas under Environmental Protection Agency oversight. The state of Utah is proposing regulations that are out for public comment.
The energy boom in eastern Utah has brought with it a big pollution problem.
The Utah Division of Air Quality has been studying it, and its now implementing new regulations to cut emissions.
The agency didn’t even know there was a pollution problem in the Uinta Basin until a few years ago. After millions of dollars of studies, the agency is now putting new rules in place to rein in emissions produced by oil and gas development.
The Gadsby power plant in Salt Lake City is an example of the nation's transition from coal to natural gas. Environmental Policy Expert Ted Nordhaus said the shift is happening primarily because natural gas is cheap -- not because of Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
Rocky Mountain Power's Carbon Plant near Helper is scheduled to retire next year. New climate pollution regulations from the Obama administration require states to find ways to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming, and power plants are responsible for a more than one-third of that pollution nationwide.
The Obama administration promised last year to crack down on the pollution blamed for climate change, and now the Environmental Protection Agency is getting ready to take a big step in carrying out that pledge.
On Monday, EPA is expected to roll out new regulations on existing power plants. Those plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions associated with global warming.
And a new report by a think tank called Ceres says Utah has a relatively high output of CO2.
Leaders in Utah and other Western states want to delay the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision on whether the Greater Sage Grouse deserves federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Conservation advocates say the iconic bird needs those federal protections.
A cleanup is still underway nearly a week after authorities learned that an oil well was spewing contaminated water near the Green River. Over the weekend, the petroleum reached the river, and now some observers want to focus on preventing future accidents.
Over the weekend, vandals defaced an area of Nine Mile Canyon that contains rock art dating back more than thousand years.
Deep inside Nine Mile Canyon near Price is an area of rock art dating back to 900 A.D., including an image of a pregnant buffalo. But on Sunday, several people observed that someone had carved the initials JMN along with the date into the rock near historic images. Jerry Spangler is the executive director of the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance. He says the graffiti has compromised an important site.
Allison Jones fears that lawmakers are pumping lot of money into a report that gives skimpy treatment to the economic values of the environment, like the important role the Cottonwood Canyons play in providing drinking water to Utah's most populated valley.
State lands officials gave a status report to lawmakers last week on the potential costs of taking over federal lands within Utah. What the report didn’t talk about – environmental costs -- is raising concerns for conservation advocates.