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PM Brief: Releasing water from Flaming Gorge & Weber County House incumbent drops out

Photo of the Flaming Gorge dam.
Dave Walsh
/
Bureau of Reclamation, public domain
Flaming Gorge dam.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

State

Emergency drought declaration

During his April monthly news conference Thursday, Gov. Spencer Cox focused on water, the impact of inflation on Utahns and more. Cox announced a state of emergency in response to Utah’s drought conditions. The declaration opens up access to funding and resources for communities that are struggling due to the lack of water. Inflation was also top of mind for the governor, who said he’s especially concerned about high gas prices and has spoken with legislative leaders about ways to ease the impact on consumers. One thing that’s on the table is free fares at public transit districts across the state — at least for certain periods of time. Cox said the Legislature would need to appropriate money for such a program. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Taking water from Flaming Gorge

Utah and three other Colorado River Basin states finalized plans Thursday to keep hydropower production going at Lake Powell. The states authorized half a million-acre feet of water to be released from the upstream Flaming Gorge reservoir over the next year. That will start May 1. Gene Shawcroft, the state’s Colorado River commissioner, said people need to realize “we’re in uncharted territory” and states throughout the West need to be wise in their water use. Lake Powell is currently only 24% full and Flaming Gorge is around 80%. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Weekly COVID case average is up

COVID rates are going up in Utah, but hospitalizations are down. According to the Utah Department of Health, the seven-day average for new cases is up 61% over last week, but new hospitalizations dropped 20% during the same time. Wastewater monitoring of COVID-19 also showed increases in some parts of the state including Salt Lake City, Lehi and St. George. But all of Utah is currently in the green –– or low level –– of community spread, and the state’s positivity rate is right around 5%. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah

Northern Utah

Weber County incumbent drops out of race

Utah state Rep. Steve Waldrip, R-Eden, is dropping out of his reelection campaign. The Ogden Standard-Examiner reports he wants to focus more time on running a nonprofit he created that helps families own homes. That leaves Jason Kyle and Kimberly Cozzens vying to be the Republican nominee to represent the eastern Weber county district. Both are politically to the right of Waldrip. GOP delegates at this weekend’s state convention will decide who makes it to the primary ballot. The winner of the June 28 primary will face off against Democrat Monica Hall in November. — Tim Vandenack, Ogden Standard-Examiner

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

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