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AM Brief: Reducing fire risk in Iron County & Indigenous communities opioid crisis

Wood chips and stumps scattered in foreground while a piece of heavy machinery removes trees in the background.
Bureau of Land Management
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The Bureau of Land Management has approved a Iron County habitat restoration project that will remove pinyon pine-juniper trees. Similar projects are conducted throughout the region, including Eastern Nevada as seen in this from March 2022.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Northern Utah

Mining banned in Salt Lake County canyons

The Salt Lake County Council voted Tuesday to ban mining in the Wasatch canyons and foothills. The move is in response to a proposed limestone quarry in Parleys Canyon. Proponents of the mine said it’s needed to support affordable and sustainable development as Utah’s population continues to grow, but the project has faced fierce opposition from people who worry about negative environmental impacts. In a statement, a spokesperson for the companies behind the proposal said they believe the county’s actions go against state law and they’re considering their next steps. Read the full story.Emily Means

Southern Utah

Bear Valley habitat restoration project approved

Work to reduce wildfire risk and restore habitats in Iron County’s Bear Valley is set to begin as soon as this year after the Bureau of Land Management approved a restoration and hazardous fuels treatment project in the area. It’s meant to decrease the risk of severe wildfires and protect sage-grouse and mule deer habitat. The project emcompasses nearly 3,000 acres of BLM land northeast of Cedar City. — Leah Treidler

Region/Nation

Utah woman dies after fall in Grand Canyon

Authorities said a 34-year-old Utah woman died after a fall at the Grand Canyon. Margaret Osswald of Salt Lake City was near Ledges Camp along the Colorado River on Monday evening when she fell about 20 feet and sustained fatal injuries. Authorities said Osswald had hiked into the canyon to meet a river trip at Phantom Ranch and was on the sixth day of a private boating trip. The National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the incident. — Associated Press

Arizona issues death-row execution warrant

The Arizona Supreme Court issued an execution warrant for a death-row prisoner for the first time in nearly eight years. Authorities set May 11 as the execution date for Clarence Dixon, who was sentenced to death for the 1978 murder of Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin. The last time Arizona used the death penalty was in July 2014. A Utah bill to repeal the death penalty failed in committee this year by just one vote. — Associated Press & Leah Treidler

Opioid crisis disproportionately affects Indigenous communities

Federal lawmakers Tuesday heard from tribal and border patrol representatives about how the opioid crisis is impacting Indigenous communities. Native Americans had the highest drug overdose death rate of any racial group, according to 2019 findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maureen Rosette, from the National Council of Urban Indian Health, said federal laws and grants need to explicitly include the organizations that care for urban Indigenous peoples. A border patrol union leader said stricter border policy is needed to limit the flow of drugs across the southern border. — Emma Gibson, Mountain West News Bureau

First official candidate for Navajo Nation president

Former Navajo Nation Vice Presidential Candidate Buu Van Nygren announced he is seeking the tribal president's post Monday, a month before the deadline for candidates to file. He's the first to publicly announce his run. The primary election will take place Aug. 2, and more than a dozen people typically run for president of the Navajo Nation. Current Tribal President Jonathan Nez hasn't said whether he'll seek reelection. — Associated Press

KUER's newscast was produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Corrected: April 6, 2022 at 8:38 AM MDT
This text and audio have been updated to reflect the correct year of the murder of Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin.
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