Energy & Environment

Screenshot / Facebook

A leader of the armed occupation at an Oregon wildlife refuge urged his supporters on Thursday to avoid further bloodshed. Now observers are wondering how the issues will play out.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A Senate panel signed off Wednesday on using sales taxes to help pay for water projects, including the controversial Lake Powell Pipeline.

Tiered Water Pricing Could Be Mandated Statewide

Jan 26, 2016
Brian Grimmett

The Utah Senate has passed a bill that its sponsor hopes will help communities better conserve water.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Climate scientists said this week that 2015 was the warmest year on record globally and the second warmest in the United States. And Utah was relatively toasty, too.

Data from the Utah Climate Center at Utah State University shows last year was the 3rd warmest in around 130 years of counting. At an average of 51.2 degrees Fahrenheit for the year, that’s 4.4 degrees warmer than average.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A comprehensive land-use proposal for eastern Utah made its public debut Wednesday -- three years after Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, began stitching together support in rural Utah between disparate user groups.

Dugway Proving Ground

A watchdog group says Utahns should be keeping tabs on operations at Dugway Proving Ground after the test center for biological and chemical weapons in Tooele County was stripped of its mission to produce anthrax for other labs to use.

Screenshot / Utah Office of Energy Development

Utahns had a mixed response to the announcement Friday that the Interior Department’s launching an in-depth review of federal coal programs.

Colorado River Basin Forecast Center Screenshot

The skies have been generous to Utah in the past few weeks, sprinkling the entire state with more snow and rain than normal. But that’s only part of the story about Utah’s water conditions.

“Our snow situation for today,” says Greg Smith, senior hydrologist for the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, “it doesn’t look too bad.”

Brian Grimmett KUER

35 electric vehicles have been sold or leased in the past two and a half weeks through a program called U Drive Electric.

National Park Service Web Page

Outdoor industry leaders unveiled plans Thursday for celebrating the upcoming centennial of the national parks.

The Outdoor Retailer winter trade show is back in Salt Lake City this week, bringing together around 25,000 representatives from companies that make clothing and equipment for outdoor recreation, along with advocacy groups that promote public lands protection.

A one-of-its-kind science experiment is in the making as the northern arm of the Great Salt Lake hits its lowest level in modern history.

Thirteen miles of railroad track stretches between Promontory Point and Lakeside on the western shore of the Great Salt Lake, and the rock causeway supporting those tracks has made water levels fall in the lake’s northern arm to the lowest level ever measured. Water in the south arm is now two feet higher.

Whittney Evans / KUER News

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was part of the U.S. delegation to the Paris climate talks earlier this month. He’s had a little time now to reflect on the discussions -- and the historic agreement to limit the pollution that’s speeding up global warming. KUER's Judy Fahys sat down with the mayor as he prepares to leave office to find out why he participated and what's at stake for Salt Lake City in dealing with climate change.

Whittney Evans

Utah Transit Authority is prepared to run more buses on cleaner fuels with its brand new compressed natural gas fueling station.

Salt Lake County Regional Development

The newly formed Mountain Planning Commission of Salt Lake County is set to have its inaugural meeting in the first week of the New Year.

Judy Fahys/KUER

They’ve filled the room with evergreen scent. They’ve filled families with Christmas cheer. Now those live Christmas trees can serve yet another purpose – as compost.   

The tree-composting campaign is part of a broader program in the Salt Lake Valley to encourage all forms of recycling.

Linde Cater / National Park Service

The first draft of a proposal to construct a giant straw from Lake Powell to southwestern Utah has landed on the desk of federal regulators just as new concerns about the project are being raised in the State Capitol.

Judy Fahys/KUER

U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer sentenced San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman to ten days in jail and three years of probation. The charges stem from leading dozens of ATV protestors into an archeologically rich canyon last year that the federal government had closed to motorized vehicles.

Don Sharaf / American Avalanche Institute

  Three days of snow has reminded Utah of what life’s like in a mountain state after last year’s paltry winter.

Jim Steenburgh , a University of Utah atmospheric scientist, wrote the book Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth, and he’s known online as Professor Powder. Like many Utahns, he was pleased with this week’s three-day snowstorm.

“It was great,” he says. “I enjoyed it.”

Judy Fahys/KUER

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s back in federal court this week. He’s being sentenced for organizing a protest ride into Recapture Canyon last year in a case that’s often compared with the prosecution of another person who challenged authority: climate-change activist Tim DeChristopher. 

Ricky Romero / Flickr Creative Commons

The Legislature’s auditors checked operations at some of Utah’s water improvement districts, and they say most of those districts need to tidy up routine operations.

The Legislative Auditor General’s office focused on 16 districts that provide culinary water but no other services. They found 10 needing fine tuning with tasks like bookkeeping, planning and procurement.

Snow Storm Brings Increased Avalanche Danger

Dec 14, 2015
Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center

The Wasatch Front’s first major winter storm of the season has brought several inches of snow, and with it an increased danger for avalanches.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Weather watchers at Salt Lake City’s National Weather Service office are telling Utahns what they might have already guessed: It’s been an exceptionally warm fall.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah’s land-transfer advocates agree it's time to get a lawsuit ready for the U.S. Supreme Court after lawyers told legislators Wednesday that solid legal arguments support the quest to take over federal lands in Utah. They say it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to control so much land in the state. “It is not an easy path,” said the leader of the legal team, New Orleans attorney George Wentz. 

Dan Brown / Flickr Creative Commons

Members of Utah’s State Board of Education will be hearing  from practicing scientists on Friday who say that proposed science standards ignore some critical concepts about climate change.

Courtesy: / Tesoro Corp.

The Utah Supreme Court listened to attorneys on Wednesday arguing about pollution from a refinery, but a quip by one of the high-court justices is getting most of the attention.

Rick Bajornas / UN Photo

Utahns want their voices to be heard during the Paris climate talks. They include Mormons whose church has been silent about a problem they see as a moral issue.

Duc / Flickr Creative Commons

World leaders kicked off meetings in Paris Monday in the search for solutions to runaway climate change.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will be participating in discussions among local leaders concerned about climate pollution. He’s been working on it with the White House for more than two years. Becker was part of a task force last year that developed a kind of climate-change toolkit for local communities.


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.