The University of Utah is starting a new center to study air pollution and its impacts on health and society. The U hosted a retreat Monday, bringing academics together to talk about what they have to contribute and how they can collaborate.
The air pollution that we can see suspended in the cold air trapped during Utah’s infamous temperature inversions is called PM 2.5 – particulate matter 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. Just how much of that comes from large industrial polluters is a subject of some dispute, along with just what should be done about it. Dan Bammes has the third in our series of reports on Clearing the Air.
Democratic Representatives Brian King, Joel Briscoe and Patrice Arent attend a clean air rally at the Capitol. Both Briscoe and Arent are among the sponsors of a series of bills Democrats hope would provide some future relief from inversion air.
As Utahns persist through one of the worst winter inversion seasons in a decade, many have focused their frustration and anger over dirty air on elected officials in the Utah legislature. In part two of our series Clearing the Air, KUER News explores the short and long term solutions lawmakers are proposing.
After a year of studying winter ozone air pollution in Utah’s Uintah Basin, a team of scientists has determined that oil and gas wells are causing most of the problem.
The team at Utah State University’s Uintah Basin campus studied ozone last winter – when there were only a few inversion days and not much of a problem. It’s been worse this year, and Seth Lyman with the Bingham Research Center says a big part of the problem is the volatile organic compounds such as benzene coming from thousands of oil and gas wells.
The battle over access to fishing streams in Utah probably won’t be resolved in this legislative session, but that was welcome news to anglers who brought the issue to the state capitol on Friday.
About 400 people who had gathered on the capitol steps cheered the news that the sponsor of House Bill 68 will hold on to his bill for now. It would declare the state has met its obligations to keep streams open as a public trust.
Utahns are well-acquainted with the dirty air lurking beyond their front doors in a winter inversion or summer ozone day. A long string of unhealthy air days this winter has many residents saying "enough". Today KUER News and RadioWest begin “Clearing the Air,” a special series aimed at exploring the problem of Utah’s poor air quality and ways to improve it. One of the contributing factors is car emissions, but is public transit a viable option for those living on the Wasatch Front? Can people use their cars less without compromising their lifestyle?
Utah citizens and activists gathered on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday to demand action to clean up the state’s polluted air. The rally was part of a grassroots effort, including a Facebook campaign and petition.
University of Utah student Carl Ingwell started the Facebook campaign, urging people to inundate the Utah governor’s office with calls and e-mails, demanding action. His campaign led him to the steps of the Capitol, speaking to about 150 concerned citizens.
Democratic State Lawmakers are calling the federal government to protect and preserve Utah’s greater canyonlands.
On the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday, State Senator and Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis sought to preserve one the state’s natural treasures. He introduced Senate Joint Resolution 10 that seeks public comment on how to protect the greater canyonlands.
Most strategies to reduce air pollution in northern Utah focus on emissions from cars and industry, but the state’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is targeting another source of pollution – the products in our bathroom cupboards, cleaning closets, and garage shelves. The DAQ board will consider a new rule Wednesday that would regulate consumer products containing volatile organic compounds.
Clean air advocates filed a legal challenge last week against the US Environmental Protection Agency, claiming a new policy allows some coal-fired power plants to continue releasing haze-causing pollutants in Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. Environmental organization HEAL Utah was one of the groups who filed the challenge with the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver.
A spokeswoman for Utah Governor Gary Herbert says the governor disagrees with dozens of Utah Doctors who say the region’s current air pollution levels are causing a public healthcare emergency. A group of physicians hand-delivered a letter to the Governor’s office Wednesday afternoon, asking him to take prompt action to address poor air quality along the Wasatch Front and in Cache Valley.
Two events that attract tens of thousands of visitors to Utah are taking place this week: The Sundance Film Festival and the winter Outdoor Retailers show. Some activist groups are wondering if there's an effort to avoid drawing attention to the state's lousy air quality while they're in town.
The Great Salt Lake occasionally smells strange during the summer and then there’s the “lake effect” in the winter. But within the waters of North America's most salty lake lies a unique variety of brine shrimp species that has spawned a rare public/private partnership between the Utah Department of Natural Resources and more than a dozen businesses.
Rocky Mountain Power is opening another lottery for their customers who want to receive incentives to help offset the costs of installing solar energy equipment on their homes or businesses. The program opens Tuesday the 15th and runs through the 28th of January. Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson Jeff Hymas says the $50 million dollars up for grabs through 2017 will benefit all power users.
Members of Utah’s congressional delegation called for more energy development during a panel at the Governor’s Energy Development Summit. But the discussion wasn’t without some push back from local environmental advocacy groups.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation’s recent release of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Narrows Dam on Gooseberry Creek in Sanpete County is likely to be contested in court. The relatively small water project would allow the Sanpete Water Conservancy District to develop an existing Gooseberry Project right to 5400 acre-feet of water for farmers’ late summer crop.
Salt Lake City nuclear waste company EnergySolutions announced Monday that it will be acquired by private equity firm Energy Capital Partners. But numerous parties are questioning the deal, including HEAL Utah. The environmental organization's Policy Director Matt Pacenza told KUER that he is wary about a private equity firm managing nuclear waste.
Monday is the deadline for people who own a few mining claims on public land to make sure the government knows they want to keep them. The paperwork is minimal and the $140 fee for maintaining a claim can even be waived.
Under a federal law that dates back to 1872, the rules for mining claims aren't that different for the lone prospector and the huge companies that extract millions of dollars' worth of minerals from public land. That bothers Tim Wagner with the Sierra Club, who says big corporations pay almost nothing for the minerals they extract.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance filed new court papers last week to move its case ahead challenging six Resource Management Plans for Utah adopted by the Bureau of Land Management at the end of the Bush administration. The new filings focus on the RMP for the Richfield field office, an area that SUWA lawyer Steve Bloch says includes some of Utah's most spectacular country.
"Places like the Dirty Devil, Factory Butte, the Henry Mountains, Muddy Creek on the southern end of the
After major opposition from Utah’s top elected officials a group of utility companies has once and for all scrapped their plans to build an above ground nuclear waste storage facility in Tooele County. The companies wanted to construct radioactive waste containers on a 100-acre area on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation. The site also sits very close to the Utah Test and Training Range where the military frequently drops and tests explosives.
About 30 members of the United Mine Workers Union of America from the Deer Creek coal mine located near Huntington, Utah gathered outside of the Gallivan center Friday to tell people they’re concerned about their safety. Right now they are in the middle of contract negotiations with their employer, Energy West Mining, who they say is planning to cut safety provisions. The proposal includes eliminating 11 of the unions 14 safety representatives. Union spokesman Brad Timothy says that won’t keep them safe.
The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has worked out a framework for state agencies and private landowners to cooperate on protecting the black-footed ferret. It allows landowners to continue grazing or other uses on their land if they're willing to set aside some habitat for the ferrets.
Brian Maxfield, a biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says it gives the ferret's neighbors a clear understanding of what they can expect in areas where the ferrets have been re-introduced.
A coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and political leaders sent a letter to Governor Gary Herbert, asking him not to sign a deal worked out with the state of Nevada to divide water rights in the Snake Valley. Steve Erickson represents the Great Basin Water Network. He says the deal worked out three years ago should be scrapped and the states should negotiate a new one.
"We have plenty of time to do further science and assess the potential damages from this project before we sign on the bottom line," Erickson told reporters at the Utah state capitol.
The Utah Air Quality Board will meet tomorrow to look at a new set of state regulations aimed at cleaning up winter air pollution. The new rules would impose stricter standards in Cache County as well as the Wasatch Front. The new plan has to meet standards set by the U-S Environmental Protection Agency, with federal highway funding at risk if it fails.
Utah business leaders are making a case for why clean air is integral to a strong economy. At the Salt Lake Chamber’s 2nd Annual Clean Air Conference this morningpanelists from the Utah division of Air Quality, Wasatch Front Regional Council and Overstock.com discussed how environmental responsibility can benefit bottom lines and improve quality of life for everyone.