Energy & Environment | KUER 90.1

Energy & Environment

Google Earth screen shot.
Google Earth

State regulators are asking for public input on a radioactive waste company’s request for special permission to bury depleted uranium waste at its Tooele County landfill.

Aerial view of St. George, Utah.
iStock.com/alpenarts

The federal agency overseeing the Lake Powell Pipeline license application issued a key ruling on Tuesday which some critics are saying will delay the project. But supporters insist that now they're actually a step closer to getting final approval.

The Trump administration just relaxed Obama-era industry regulations for methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal lands. But reactions to the change in the Mountain West are mixed.  

Courtesy Brian McInerney


Hurricane Florence battering the Southeast, a typhoon killing dozens in the Philippines, a California blaze taking a Utah firefighter's life - the weather's been surprising all summer. 

Odyssey Elementary School
Utah Clean Energy

A growing movement worldwide to make buildings so energy-efficient that they don’t need any gas or electricity from the grid is slowly catching on in Utah.

Photo of Chris Cline at Jordan River.
Kelsie Moore / KUER


On a stretch of the Jordan River where it rushes past a wall of industrial buildings and a massive pile of hazardous waste, biologist Chris Cline sees a beautiful future taking shape.

Erik Neumann / KUER

BLUFF, Utah — Chop saws buzzed as volunteers painted the bathrooms Monday inside the old Silver Dollar Bar, giving the historic town watering hole on the edge of what was until recently Bears Ears National Monument a welcome makeover.

Photo of committee.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Severe drought has wreaked havoc on agriculture and wildlife in Utah, but the state's Drought Review and Reporting Committee decided against taking action — at least for now — as officials looked toward what they hope is a wet and stormy fall and winter.

Warmer temperatures across the region from climate change are making insect pests hungrier. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Science.

In early August three years ago, Barb Horn stood along the banks of the Animas River in the city of Durango, Colorado. Word had spread of a mine waste spill upstream near Silverton. She waited, alongside hundreds of others, for the waste to appear. But the plume took longer than expected and eventually arrived at night.

The next morning, she saw the change.

“It was absolutely surreal,” Horn says. “And I think that's why it went viral. It’s like somebody photoshopped the river orange.”

Warming temperatures are sapping the Colorado River, the water source for more than 40 million people in the southwest. A new study finds over the last 100 years the river’s flow has decreased by more than 15 percent.

Utah Fire Info / Twitter

A series of small forest fires that started this week in northern Utah and southern Wyoming are being investigated as arsons.

It's no secret that water is a problem in the West. Historically, the humble beaver helped maintain wetlands and ponds across the arid landscape but their populations were decimated during the fur trade and their numbers dropped dramatically from 400 million to just 100,000 by the turn of the twentieth century. But Canada's national animal is making a comeback and scientists think they have an important role to play as our region fights drought.

A new study reveals how much water the U.S. uses in energy production. The answer is a lot – 58 trillion gallons. The data breakdown may be critical information for the Mountain West, where energy industries are big, but water can be scarce.

The Colorado River is running low on water. The lifeline that slakes the thirst of 40 million southwestern residents is projected to hit a historic low mark within two years, forcing mandatory cuts to water deliveries in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.   

Facing exceptional drought conditions, cities throughout the watershed this summer have imposed mandatory water restrictions, ranchers have begun selling off cows they’re unable to feed, and the river’s reservoirs are headed toward levels not seen since they filled decades ago.

Beaver swims across Red Butte Reservoir.
Courtesy Sherwood Casjens

A local effort to bring beavers back to Salt Lake City's Red Butte Canyon is dead in the water after the U.S. Forest Service sunk the idea this week.

A U.S. district court hearing Thursday could decide the fate of grizzly bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

Red dirt farm and tractor.
iStock.com / johnnya123

Reports of strong rain have come in from all over Utah in recent weeks, but those storms haven't eased the hardships caused by a statewide drought.

Erik Neumann / KUER

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) may be the most successful, and little-known, conservation program. That obscurity could contribute to it's downfall. 

trees in the water at a desert reservoir.
iStock.com / SumikoPhoto

The Utah Water Resources Division and the Washington County Water Conservancy District asked federal regulators Wednesday to resume processing a permit application for the multi-billion-dollar Lake Powell Pipeline.

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

iStock.com / desertsolitaire

The Trump administration unveiled its long-anticipated plans Tuesday to clean up pollution from power plants, but it's not clear that the proposal will change electric power in Utah.

You may not have noticed, but a few months ago the Trump Administration stopped using a century-old law to fine industries when birds are accidentally killed by oil spills, power lines or wind farms.

A new study shows air pollution like soot, dust and smoke is down around the country with one exception: wildfire prone areas like the Mountain West.  

Utah Fire Info

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox acknowledged Wednesday that climate change is playing a role Utah's devastating  fires this season, including a fast-moving blaze in drought-stricken Sanpete County.

A new species of tick, the longhorned tick, has arrived in the U.S.

In other parts of the world it’s been known to carry diseases that can sicken people and livestock. In East Asia the tick can carry a nasty hemorrhagic fever called SFTS. A study in China looking at SFTS cases there found that 16 percent of people who were diagnosed with the disease died of it.

jamesteohart/iStockphoto

The Trump administration’s move this week to to scale back an Obama-era goal to boost fuel efficiency standards for automobiles is drawing criticism from environmental groups as being costly to consumers.

As record wildfires rage across the West, funding for fire prevention science is in jeopardy. Under President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal, cuts to various programs will be significant.

E.T. Technology Soils Regeneration Site.
Whittney Evans/KUER

 

 

Something reeks in West Valley City. City officials there are poking their noses into who is making that stink.

iStock.com / ronnybas

A Belgian hiker died from apparent heat-related causes earlier this week at the Utah-Arizona border.

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