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PM Brief: Oldest serving LDS president & Utah environmentalist sue the EPA

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson, official headshot
Courtesy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Russell M. Nelson is the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was called to the position on Jan. 14, 2018.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Southern Utah

Happy birthday, Sand Hollow Reservoir

A popular tourist attraction in Washington County is turning 20 years old. Sand Hollow is not only the largest reservoir in the county, it's also the most visited state park in Utah. The reservoir captures spring runoff from the Virgin River and stores it for drier months and even years. Zach Renstrom, the general manager for the county’s water district, said its importance to the residents of Washington County can’t be overstated. The only reason people have been able to move to the area in the last 20 years is because of the body of water. It’s also a key recreation destination, more than 1.6 million people visited the site last year. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

State

Utah conservation groups sue the EPA

A group of environmental organizations filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Environmental Protection Agency. They say the agency isn’t doing enough to reduce air pollution in and around national parks. Specifically, they called out Utah’s Hunter and Huntington coal plants for being a big source of haze pollution. Utah is one of 34 other states that haven’t submitted a plan to deal with regional haze. The Trump administration weakened these efforts and President Joe Biden is defending that action. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Oldest serving LDS Church president

Russell M. Nelson is now the oldest person to have ever served as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As of Thursday, the 97-year-old is one day older than President Gordon B. Hinckley was when he died in 2008. Nelson’s record age reflects the composition of Church leadership — primarily older white men. The president oversees everything from the Church’s multibillion-dollar financial holdings to its doctrine and policy, and members of the faith believe the president also receives divine revelation and direct word from God. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Transgender sports lawsuit could set precedent

A lawsuit challenging Idaho’s ban on transgender athletes in women’s sports will likely move forward after the plaintiff re-enrolled at Boise State University. In 2020, Idaho became the first state in the nation to ban transgender women and girls from playing on women’s sports teams in public schools. Utah passed a similar law this year for public schools, though it doesn’t apply to universities. The Idaho lawsuit from Lindsay Hecox could set precedent for whether such policies violate federal anti-discrimination rules. The case stalled last year after Hecox withdrew from Boise State University, but Wednesday, attorneys on both sides agreed she had re-enrolled and was playing soccer and hoped to make the cross-country team. — Associated Press/Elaine Clark

Quick thaw leads to fish die-off

Wildlife officials across the Mountain West have reported large numbers of fish dying off in lakes and reservoirs over the past month. The most recent event occurred in Northern Nevada, where thousands of dead fish washed ashore at a reservoir in Elko County. Officials said the lake went from being almost completely covered in ice to ice-free in a matter of days causing low oxygen levels for fish. In March, thousands of dead fish turned up at a lake and several ponds in Fort Collins, Colorado. While officials say fish kills are natural, they typically don’t occur this early in the year. The long drought can lead to summertime kills as well. — Kaleb Roedel, Mountain West News Bureau

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