Energy & Environment

Judy Fahys/KUER

County commissioners gathered in a state Capitol hearing room Wednesday seeking aid for one of their own. San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s supporters left a pile of cash to help with his criminal case – but it didn’t include taxpayer money.

Steve Schmidt / Western Rivers Flyfisher

The group Trout Unlimited says the nation’s trout are in trouble.

Development, invasive species and climate change are threats that have pushed the native trout to just one quarter of the places they used to thrive nationwide. TU’s president and CEO, Chris Wood, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday it’s not just a problem for people who like to fish.

Hot Weather Digs In

Jun 22, 2015
Judy Fahys/KUER

It’s been pretty hot in Utah lately, and the forecast for the week heading into the July Fourth holiday weekend calls for the warm and dry conditions to dig in.

Doc Searls / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government approved a big coal lease in central Utah Friday over the objections of environmental groups.

Judy Fahys/KUER

  Pope Francis lent his voice Thursday to the argument that climate change is a moral problem with the release of his long-awaited encyclical on the issue.

Several groups in Utah are embracing the message.

Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Power is hoping to soon offer customers a way to purchase all or part of their power from a solar source without having to put solar panels on their roof.

Bob Nelson

Within the next couple of weeks, University of Utah landscape planners and maintenance crews will have converted 30,000 square feet of lawn to more drought-tolerant green space on campus.

Judy Fahys/KUER

New plans to mine oil sands in Utah are under review. But environmentalists say state regulators need to take a harder look at the details.

Judy Fahys/KUER

By Thursday morning, officials in the cities of Syracuse and Clinton had lifted boil-water notices that had been in place since last week. Potentially dangerous fecal coliform and the bacteria e. coli were found in drinking water systems. In separate incidents in each community, pipes for untreated irrigation water had been accidently connected to culinary lines.

Judy Fahys/KUER

One hundred North American scientists are calling for a moratorium on oil sands projects. They say oil sands projects and pipelines damage the environment, and they want new projects stopped.

Matt Hobbs / Flickr Creative Commons

The panel that used to set Utah’s radiation control policies held its final meeting on Tuesday. And, as its last official act, the Utah Radiation Control Board created a new advisory panel to guide future decisions on cancer treatments, diagnostic tools and other medical uses of radiation.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Early June is goose-banding time in the Salt Lake Valley, and around 100 volunteers join the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on Friday to help.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The fire community is breathing easier about the upcoming wildfire season for now.

Back in winter, fire officials worried that Utah might be headed into a long, harsh one. But rain gauges at the Salt Lake City airport registered more than double the normal rainfall for the month. Now the soil moisture is restored and green grass covers the range.

Dan Bammes

Environmental and health advocates have tried for years to force environmental regulators to crack down on ozone pollution in the Uinta Basin. This week a federal appeals court rejected their arguments, even though some winter days the pollution in the rural Uinta Basin rivals the smoggiest days in big cities like Los Angeles.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Household hazardous waste collection begins in earnest this week, as the Salt Lake County Health Department begins hosting neighborhood collections throughout the summer.

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

A newly proposed Bureau of Land Management plan on conserving greater sage-grouse habitat is not going over very well with Utah’s congressional delegation.

Freida and Ray Tibbitts have always taken care to turn off lights whenever they leave a room, so they were stunned last fall when their electric bill jumped and the energy report included with the bill showed their home was using twice as much power as the neighbors.

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.


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.

Utah's Uncertain Water Future explores Utah's relationship with water -- from the days when pioneers dug canals by hand to a future riddled with deep droughts and rising  demands. The documentary focuses on how Utah is managing these challenges, especially in fast-growing southwestern Utah. 

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.