A toxic plume that has contaminated the groundwater in a Yalecrest neighborhood for more than 20 years may be cleaned up under the federal Superfund program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency submitted a proposal Friday to add the groundwater plume to the National Priorities List of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake Valley Health Department, and city of Salt Lake all support the EPA Superfund proposal.
A 10th circuit court of appeals today upheld the felony convictions of Utah climate change activist Tim DeChristopher who placed phony bids on oil and gas parcels near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in 2008. Last year, a federal judge in Salt Lake City sentenced DeChristopher to two years in prison. And this week in a two to one decision, the court of appeals upheld that decision. Defense Attorney Ron Yengich says he’s disappointed, but not surprised.
A petition with more than five thousand signatures demanding an end to Utah's attempt to take control of federal lands was delivered Wednesday to Governor Gary Herbert's office. The effort was led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and supported by activists like Dwight Butler of Wasatch Touring. He says the federal government is taking good care of its land right now.
"The state of Utah, there's a good chance, would develop it, or sell parcels off, or divide it up," he told KUER. "I think it's the best protection we have right now and we should keep it that way."
The head of the University of Utah's environmental and sustainability studies program says he's optimistic about the future of rivers across America. In his new book River Republic, Professor Dan McCool argues this is happening because Americans are learning the value of their rivers, not for irrigation or hydropower or transportation, but for their own sake. He spoke with KUER's Dan Bammes. Information about River Republic on Columbia University Press website.
Salt Lake City officials announced the beginning of idle free awareness Month this morning. Mayor Ralph Becker kicked off the event by talking to elementary school students in Rose Park about the importance of turning off a car when parked for more than a few seconds.
City leaders explained to 4th, 5th and 6th graders at Rose Park Elementary that Idling a vehicle increases dependence on oil, reduces the fuel economy of a car, costs more money and produces harmful pollutants. Mayor Ralph Becker offered tips on how they can help their parents minimize those effects.
An advisory panel appointed by Governor Gary Herbert is getting ready to recommend a plan for protecting the sage grouse in Utah. Utah and several other states are hoping to avoid having the grouse listed as an endangered species. Biologist Allison Jones with the Wild Utah Project has attended all the group's meetings. She tells KUER's Dan Bammes the plan won't protect every place in the state where the birds are found. Wild Utah Project website
Utah spends millions of dollars promoting the state as a location for movies and commercials, and offers significant tax breaks to production companies when they come here. A recent confrontation outside Moab caused some worry about the state's reputation as a prime spot for shooting movies.
Back in July, Jerry Bruckhheimer's production company was in southern Utah, shooting scenes for the upcoming Lone Ranger movie starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp.
Utah and several other western states are working on plans to protect the sage grouse, with the goal of keeping the birds off the federal endangered species list. Those plans have to be acceptable to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and it's just issued a draft report that could give the states some guidance. Noreen Walsh, the deputy administrator for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Mountain Prairie Region, says it addresses the different circumstances such as energy development, predators and urban growth that threaten the sage grouse population across its 11-state range.
Millions of people across the West depend on the Colorado River for drinking water and irrigation, and that's what's made cleaning up the site of an old uranium mill in southern Utah a high-priority project. Many other countries have the same concern. Their representatives got a close-up look last week at how the United States is handling that project.
Howie Garber came to Utah to go to medical school and worked as an emergency room physician after he graduated from medical school in 1980. Through the years, he's taken thousands of photographs of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake County, and this month he's publishing many of them in a new book, Utah's Wasatch Range -- Four Season Refuge. Though the pictures are stunning, it's more than just a coffee table book.
Monday, August 13th is the deadline for public comments on the Utah Division of Water Quality's assessments of the crude oil spill in Red Butte Creek. The spill occurred two years ago when an electrical short-circuit burned a hole in the pipeline carrying crude oil and spilled more than 50,000 gallons into the creek.
Salt Lake County will be asking for public input on new general plans for Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood and Parley's Canyons at an open house scheduled for Thursday afternoon August 9th at the Millcreek Community Center. The county plans deal primarily with private property in those canyons. Rolen Yoshinaga, the head of the county's Planning and Development Services Division says the goal is to keep the plans governing those canyons are kept up-to-date. He spoke with KUER's Dan Bammes.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert has appointed Dan Shrum, a senior vice-president of EnergySolutions, to the state's new Radiation Control Board. EnergySolutions runs a mile-square landfill in Tooele County for low-level radioactive waste. The law authorizing the board requires an industry representative to be on it. Company spokesperson Mark Walker says Shrum is the right guy.
"He's a very fair and balanced man, has been involved in environmental issues his entire career, not only in Utah but around the country" Walker tells KUER. "And there's absolutely no conflict of interest."
The director of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Pat Mulroy, is threatening to take the state of Utah to the U.S. Supreme Court over an agreement to allocate groundwater in the Snake Valley on the Utah-Nevada state line. The statement was made in an e-mail to members of SNWA's board of directors. The agreement was required by federal law before a pipeline could be built carrying water from the Great Basin to Las Vegas.