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PM Brief: Romney calls out Republicans, Ironman bans Russians & Great Salt Lake spending

A photo of three people in running in ankle-deep water with a sunset in the background.
Courtesy of Ironman PR
The Ironman group has become the latest athletic competition to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. Officials announced Wednesday athletes from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to participate in this year’s 70.3 world championship triathlon in St. George. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2022

State

Secondary metering as a tool for water conservation 

Secondary water connections in Utah could be required to have a meter by 2030. Secondary water is untreated and used for agriculture and outdoor landscaping. And lawmakers believe measuring it will be a huge lift that will impact the state’s future. Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, is the bill’s sponsor. He said metering has the potential to result in 20-40% water savings statewide. The price tag for this secondary metering bill is $250 million. It’ll come from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act. Lawmakers say that money will have a “generational” impact. The bill was passed by the Senate Wednesday, but was first amended so some rural counties can opt out of it. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery

Sen. Romney calls out Republicans for heckling President Biden 

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, is criticizing two Republican colleagues for heckling President Joe Biden during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Romney called the actions of Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, repugnant and repulsive. “They're just trying to perform in a big way that gets them a lot of money on the internet and a lot of eyeballs and a lot of acclaim,” Romney told KUER. “They don't intend to legislate or to solve problems.” He said there are really important issues to tackle right now, like inflation, the country’s relationship with Russia and illegal U.S. border crossings and members of Congress should be focused on that. — Sonja Hutson 

Northern Utah

Utah Legislature commits $40 million to help save Great Salt Lake

A $40 million bill aimed at helping save the Great Salt Lake unanimously passed the full Utah Legislature Wednesday. The legislation creates a water trust that would use the money to buy more water from rights holders upstream and to sustain the lake’s wetlands. Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, said “the lake is 11 feet lower today than when our ancestors first arrived. If you do the math that now means over 1,600 square miles of lake bed have been exposed to the elements generating toxic dust, reducing snowpack and threatening the economy and quality of life for Utahns across the state.” Gov. Spencer Cox has signaled that he’ll sign the bill. — Sonja Hutson

Southern Utah

Ironman bans Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitions

The Ironman group has become the latest athletic competition to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. Officials announced Wednesday athletes from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to participate in this year’s 70.3 world championship triathlon in St. George and other championship events in St. George and Hawaii. The Ironman triathlon that was scheduled to be in St. Petersburg, Russia in July has also been canceled. Race officials said the move is in line with recommendations from the International Olympic Committee and World Triathlon meant to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. — Ross Terrell 

Region/Nation

United Nations lays out grim picture for Colorado River basin 

A new report from the United Nations' panel on climate change lays out a grim picture of the future that includes more water shortages for the Colorado River basin. The U.N. panel says scarcity during the summer could stress economies and increase pressure on limited supplies of groundwater. The dire situation has driven up public and government attention to issues of water scarcity. The report also lists some positives, such as interstate drought agreements and a broader push for equitable clean water access. — Alex Hager, KUNC

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