Energy & Environment

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.

EnergySolutions

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.

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