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PM News Brief: Bluff Drilling Pulled, BYU Honor Code Clarified & Salt Lake County Idling Limited

A pump jack at dusk surrounded by sagebrush
Kate Groetzinger
A pump jack on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, one of the highest oil-producing counties in Utah. An energy company has pulled two applications to drill through the aquifer in the county's town of Bluff.

Wednesday evening, Mar. 4, 2020


Bluff Drilling Applications Pulled

An energy company has pulled two applications to drill through the town of Bluff’s aquifer. The move comes after Bluff residents asked the Bureau of Land Management to reject the applications submitted by EOG Resources, citing concerns about water contamination. Bluff Mayor Ann Leppanen says she learned the news from the BLM Tuesday. In a statement, Amber Johnson, BLM’s acting Monticello field manager, said the agency will not issue a final decision on an environmental assessment as there is no longer an action to consider. — Kate Groetzinger, Blanding

St. George Marathon Remains In City Hands

The City of St. George will continue to operate the St. George Marathon. The city had explored leasing the event to an outside entity to run, but in a release said it was best to keep the current marathon plan intact. The St. George Marathon takes place the first Saturday in October and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. — Caroline Ballard


Salt Lake County Air Quality Plan

Salt Lake County announced several efforts Wednesday aimed at improving air quality in the Salt Lake valley. The goal is to limit idling and cars that release smoke. The county will also create programs to help low-income people pay for repairs to vehicle pollution systems. Tickets could be given to drivers who illegally modified their vehicles or repeatedly violate policies. — Grace Osusky

Salt Lake School’s Late Start Task Force

Salt Lake City schools may choose a later start time, but not for another two years. The Late Start Task Force, which was formed last month, will look at pushing high school start times back to 8:45 a.m. Right now, high schools in the district start at 7:45 a.m., with middle and elementary schools starting as early as that or as late as 8:40 a.m. The Salt Lake City board of education will continue to discuss the issue at future meetings.— Ross Terrell


Fetal Remains

A Utah bill requiring the burial or cremation of fetuses would now only apply to abortions, not miscarriages, after changes made on the House floor Wednesday morning. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

BYU Honor Code

In February, Brigham Young University in Provo removed a section from its honor code which banned any romantic behavior between students of the same gender. Some took that as permission for gay students to date. But Wednesday, Elder Paul Johnson, who oversees all schools run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote in a statement that "Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code.” Activists have said that means gay students are not held to the same standards as their heterosexual peers. — Lee Hale

*Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Announces Education Plan

Republican candidate for governor Aimee Winder Newton is calling for $500 million to go towards salary increases for Utah’s public school teachers. Recently released numbers from the state Legislature show the education fund has a surplus of more than $800 million. Winder Newton said this is the first component of her public education plan. Her plan also calls for a change in the way the state measures school performance and for making education a top priority. — Sonja Hutson


McAdams Air Quality Bill

Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, and Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Florida, have moved their air quality bill forward. It would direct the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine to study ozone and produce findings. Ozone is a pollutant and the primary component of smog. Ozone levels along the Wasatch Front often exceed federal standards. Wednesday, the Science, Space and Technology’s Environment subcommittee unanimously voted to advance the bill. — Caroline Ballard

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