Energy & Environment

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. 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 /

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.

Christina R. Sloan/ Friends of Indian Creek

Utah’s economic officials are taking outdoor fun seriously. They’re fielding new applications for matching grants to fund outdoor recreation projects.

“There’s a lot of imagination here,” says Tom Adams, director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, the first of its kind in the nation. “And the term ‘outdoor recreation’ is really vast.”

Ben Holcomb, Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Environmental officials can’t say when the algal blooms that are poisoning local lakes and streams might fade. But there are already signs this summer’s bacteria episode will have lingering impacts on state policies.

Justin Miller / Wasatch Canyons Foundation

Imagine helping to preserve a little plot in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s an old mining claim not far from where moose like to loiter in the shade and mountain goats hang out.

Ben Holcomb, Harmful Algal Bloom Coordinator, Utah Department of Environmental Quality

With the closure of Utah Lake just last week due to a toxic algal bloom, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality is expanding warnings now to include the Jordan River and lower Cottonwood Creek.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Hundreds of people descended on the tiny town of Bluff over the weekend to have a voice on public lands decisions being made in Washington.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

A sweeping lands plan for eastern Utah became proposed legislation on Thursday. Members of Utah’s congressional delegation introduce a pair of bills based on the Public Lands Initiative they’ve been working on for three years.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell begins a three-day tour of southeastern Utah Thursday. She’s planning to visit archeological sites that would be protected in the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. She’s also meeting people who say local ideas should drive conservation, not Washington.

Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove has a plan to ease traffic congestion in the Cottonwood Canyons. He gauged the council’s interest Tuesday with mixed results.

Whittney Evans

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz is introducing a bill in Congress today that offers a possible solution for years of conflict over sustainable use in the Central Wasatch Mountains.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Freedom Shearer-Davis is tapping the contents a small plastic cup onto a plant that hugs the ground. This puncture vine – also known as goathead -- is dotted with deceptively dainty yellow flowers. The weevils look like a wad of dryer lint spilling out.

The little-known Community Impact Board usually spends its meetings considering funding requests for rural Utah projects like a new justice center in Grantsville or improvements at Grand County’s airport.


A watchdog group is joining the call for an investigation into the expenses of Utah’s lands-transfer lawsuit.

  • A $1,300 receipt for staying at the posh Grand America Hotel.
  • A beer tab prohibited in state contracts.
  • Lawyers charging $500 an hour and more for public relations and lobbying. hanusst

An inconspicuous state panel known as the Community Impact Board will meet this week for the first time since the  Oakland, Calif., City Council voted to ban coal shipments. Board member Jae Potter says it’s disappointing, but Oakland’s move won’t derail support here for Utah coal.

Thousands of Salt Lake area businesses and residents will pay higher water rates beginning today. One of the largest water providers in the state approved a rate increase this spring.

The U.S. Department of Interior finalized its new royalty rules June 30, prompting criticism from industry and support among environmental organizations.

Courtesy: / Enefit American Oil

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is taking comments through Tuesday on what could be the nation’s first shale oil mine.

File: Utah Solar Energy Association

How we get and use energy is changing fast in the West, and a debate is heating up about the best way to cut costs -- and pollution -- as part of the transformation.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Work stopped in eastern Utah last winter at the first tar sands mine in the United States. But now investors and improving oil prices have cleared the way for the project to restart.

David White/University of Utah

Someone trying to guess how good the skiing will be in the Wasatch next season will often ask: “How wet will it be?”

kojihirano/Getty Images

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are expected to decide next week on new pollution controls for two coal-fired power plants in central Utah.