More wild horses will be left on the range as the government runs out of places to put them. Here in Utah, there are no plans to remove horses from public land this year.
It’s not unusual for Utah to go several years without removing wild horses from public rangeland, though it’s not uncommon to see mustangs from Nevada and other states brought here for adoption. Lisa Reid with the Bureau of Land Management says there are actually more mustangs in government holding facilities than there left on the range.
One of the items on the agenda of Wednesday’s special legislative session is the possible repeal of a controversial bill restricting the authority of federal law enforcement officers. KUER’s Dan Bammes has more.
House Bill 155 limits the authority of Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service personnel to enforce state laws on public land, and threatens them with prosecution if they try it. A federal court has issued an injunction preventing the state from implementing the law.
The Utah Division of Air Quality regulates airborne dust and other pollution from sand and gravel operations – and a new legislative audit says it could be doing a better job.
The Legislative Auditor General’s office cites lost paperwork, long delays and enforcement of permits that haven’t been issued yet as problems in the way the division regulates sand and gravel operations.
Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says it’s clear there’s room for improvement.
Utah regulators are trying to educate people on the dangers of ozone, an invisible gas produced by smog that doctors say taxes the lungs of even healthy people.
The press conference took place under clear blue skies at a park in Woods Cross, with children playing nearby. It seemed like a nice day, but Director of the state’s Division of Air Quality Bryce Bird says ozone often goes overlooked because people can't see it.
The new study in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association estimates about 380,000 acre-feet of water a year is lost when it soaks into the lake's sandstone banks each year. That’s more than the state of Nevada is entitled to take from the river under a 1922 interstate compact.
The state’s Director of the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) says there is a possibility the agency will revoke the permit of Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake. DAQ Director Bryce Bird met with concerned members of the community, and health and environmental advocates today (WED). They called on the agency to shut down the incinerator, which they say is an urgent public health threat.
North Salt Lake residents are stepping up pressure to close a medical waste incinerator in their neighborhood. Environmental and health advocates are joining them in a protest outside Stericycle’s incinerator Tuesday evening, and representatives from the group will be meeting with the Director of the state’s Division of Air Quality to voice their concerns Wednesday morning. Among the protestors concerns is the use of a bypass stack which allows the company to release unfiltered, toxic pollutants like dioxin and mercury directly into the air.
Environmental advocates and concerned residents will be holding a protest Tuesday evening at Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake. They want the incinerator – which emits dioxins and other toxic chemicals - shut down.
Several Western states are involved in an initiative to study small-scale nuclear power plants. The first of this new generation of nuclear reactors could be built in Idaho.
Oregon-based NuScale Power has been developing its design for a 47-megawatt power plant that would not need extra water, electricity or even human intervention to stay safe in an emergency. Now it hopes to build one at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls.
In the winter, air pollution can stay trapped in the valleys of the Wasatch Front until the wind picks up and blows it away. In the summer, ozone pollution can be a problem day after day even when the wind is blowing.
Unlike particulates, which can build up for weeks in a winter inversion, new ozone is created every day by a reaction between tailpipe emissions and sunlight. Erik Crosman, a researcher in the University of Utah’s Atmosopheric Sciences program, says the wind doesn’t make much difference to pollution levels on a hot summer day.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert chairs the Western Governors Association, so this year, the group held its annual meeting in Utah. The topics included reforming health care and education, but a lot of the focus was on energy and public lands.
Work could begin soon on a new oil refinery in Green River, Utah, bringing more than a hundred stable new jobs to that community.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development will provide more than 12-million dollars in tax incentives to Rock River Resources, based in Houston. It’s agreed to create 125 new jobs at its proposed refinery to be built next to I-70 in Green River. The state has already issued an air quality permit for the project, and construction on rail links to the site could begin this summer.
Environmentalists are applauding President Obama’s proposals to limit greenhouse gas emissions by executive action. But Rocky Mountain Power says one group’s criticism ignores what it’s been doing for years.
Utah’s governor doesn’t much like the idea of creating a Greater Canyonlands National Monument covering a large area of public land in southern Utah.
Environmental groups are asking President Obama to use the federal Antiquities Act to set aside 1.4 million acres of public land on both sides of the Colorado River as a national monument. Governor Gary Herbert says there are better ways to protect public land.
Firefighters are still trying to contain three fires started in south eastern Utah last week. The Rock Creek Fire near Price, the Lackey Fan Fire near La Sal and the Dark Canyon Fire west of Monticello all began when a storm rolled through southeast Utah late last week.The Lackey Fan Fire is the biggest of the three having already burned about 900 acres with a crew of over 300 firefighters battling the blaze. The fire is currently burning in the opposite direction of La Sal and crews aren’t planning evacuations at this time. Jason Johnson is the information officer for the Rock Creek Fire.
Rural counties in Utah will get less money this year from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, or PILT. The federal government provides the funding to counties with large areas of public land. Garfield County has more than two million acres of federal land, but this year it will get just over $800,000 dollars from the PILT program.
County Commissioner Leland Pollock says providing services on federal land is a burden on local taxpayers.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument covers 1.9 million acres of Kane and Garfield Counties. It’s not the easiest place to visit, but there’s an effort underway to improve access along one of its most popular roads.
State officials re-launched the Utah Clean Air Partnership or UCAIR today as a non-profit entity with a a new board of directors.
Governor Gary Herbert gathered many new members of the UCAIR board in West Valley City on Tuesday to announce changes to the organization. Until now, UCAIR had been a state-run organization dedicated to improving the state’s air quality. Governor Herbert says reorganizing the day-to-day management of UCAIR was always a goal.
City planners, designers and developers from across the country are in Salt Lake City through Saturday to discuss how to build more walkable, transit-oriented and sustainable neighborhoods. The Congress for the New Urbanism brought its annual convention to Salt Lake City this year.
The New Urbanism philosophy harkens back to neighborhoods designed before the automobile existed. The pedestrian-centered balance of jobs, housing and transportation is intended to rein in urban sprawl and relieve traffic congestion.
Seven environmental groups are telling the Bureau of Land Management they plan to sue the agency over its leasing plan for oil shale and tar sands. They say the agency didn’t consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the possible impact on endangered species.
Attorney Steve Bloch with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance says the 60-day notice is required before the suit can be filed in federal court.
The two biggest reservoirs on the Colorado River, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are both under 50-percent of their capacity. Delegates from the federal government, seven Western states, Native American tribes and environmentalists will have that in mind as they meet this week in San Diego to discuss the future of the river.