Judy Fahys | KUER 90.1

Judy Fahys

Reporter

Judy Fahys is KUER's reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, a journalism collaborative that unites six stations across the Mountain West, including stations in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana to better serve the people of the region. The project focuses its reporting on topic areas including issues of land and water, growth, politics, and Western culture and heritage.

Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Ever since a hunter killed a nuisance cougar last fall in Eden, cougars have been spotted all along the Wasatch foothills from Layton to Olympus Cove and Herriman. Darren De Bloois, who oversees the game mammal program for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, spoke with KUER’s Judy Fahys about the frequency of cougar encounters this year and why the season probably isn’t over yet.

Photo of two students at a State Capitol climate action protest
Judy Fahys / KUER News


Around 500 Utah students on Friday took part in a worldwide strike to spur action on climate change.

Photo of U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing 3/13/19.
Screenshot U.S. House of Representatives

The power struggle over the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments continued Thursday in Washington, as supporters and opponents told their stories during a hearing about the impact of the Trump administration’s decision to shrink the monuments.

Photo of haze over the Uintah Basin
KUER File Photo

The same snow that’s helped wash away smog episodes along the Wasatch Front this winter has created a kind of pollution factory in the Uinta Basin. Conditions have led to more than two weeks of high-ozone days in Utah’s oil and gas country.

Judy Fahys / KUER

February’s wet weather has helped ease drought’s grip on Utah, as heavier than normal rain and snow have resulted in a statewide snowpack that’s at normal or better.

Photo of Arent.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Utah’s growing interest in environmental issues has translated into an explosion of environmental legislation and budget requests in the 2019 General Session.

Photo of solar panels on the rooftop of the Vivint Smart Home Arena
Judy Fahys / KUER News

A state lawmaker is proposing a carbon tax to stimulate a shift away from fossil fuels.

 

But it's uncertain whether the Republican-controlled State Legislature will advance the bill with just nine days before the Utah’s 2019 legislative General Session ends.

Photo of Goblin Valley State Park.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

Updated 7:20 p.m. MST 2/26/29

Utah’s four congressmen all voted “yes” Tuesday for a bipartisan bill that makes the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent and protects 1.3 million acres as wilderness — about half of it in Utah.

Photo of lead testing.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Sandy officials and affected residents continue to grapple with important questions after a snowstorm three weeks ago caused a fluoride pump failure that led to tainted drinking water in several neighborhoods.

Photo of Mitt Romney.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Addressing Utah lawmakers at the State Capitol Thursday, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah broke ranks with mainstream Republicans when he offered full-throated support for tackling climate change.

istock.com / sjgh

Proponents of the Lake Powell Pipeline say they’re confident they can raise enough money from southwestern Utah water users to repay any loans from state taxpayers.

Photo of a stairway at Arches National Park
Judy Fahys / KUER

Congress is dusting off last year’s plan to chip away at the rising maintenance and repair to-do list for the nation’s federal public lands.

Photo of a snow-covered lake.
Gary Henrie / U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Utah’s water picture looks bright so far this year — a big snowpack is just one reason why — and forecasters say the stormy trend is likely to continue.

Photo of radioactive waste barrell.
iStock.com / WellPhoto

A state Senate committee advanced legislation Thursday that would eliminate a policy obstacle that prevents EnergySolutions from accepting large volumes of depleted uranium at its Tooele County radioactive waste landfill.

Photo of the Green River.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed landmark legislation Tuesday to expand recreation access and conserve public lands nationwide. Passage of the Natural Resources Act stood out not just because it tackled a big challenge — the permanent authorization of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund — but also because of the strength of bipartisan support that propelled the omnibus package beyond the politics of division.

Photo of McGuire.
Judy Fahys / KUER

If your car warns when you drift into another lane or it adjusts the cruise control automatically, you’re already using self-driving vehicle technology.

Photo of Lake Powell.
Linde Cater / National Park Service

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation put the seven states in the Colorado River Basin on notice Friday that they have just one more chance to finish drought contingency plans for Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

Photo of Raul Grijalva.
U.S. House Natural Resources Committee

A new leader is settling in at the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee: U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva.

“I'm from the West,” said the Arizona Democrat. “I grew up — born-and-raised in Arizona, grew up on a ranch. My daddy was a cowboy and he worked construction. So that runs through me.”

Photo of Virgin River in St. George, Utah
Judy Fahys / KUER

The seven states in the Colorado River Basin face a deadline this week to submit water shortage plans to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Utah’s Division of Water Resources has already teamed up with other Upper Basin States — Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming — on contingency plans, but the federal government wants to be sure that the entire basin has a workable solution in the event of a severe water shortage declaration that could come as soon as next year.

Photo of U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva
Judy Fahys / KUER News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The new chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee said he expects Congress to investigate the Trump administration’s decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in southern Utah.

Photo of commissioners.
Judy Fahys / KUER

MONITCELLO — San Juan County reached an historic milestone earlier this month when a Native American majority assumed control of a county’s governing body — a first for Utah.

Photo of San Juan County commission swearing in
Judy Fahys/KUER

MONTICELLO — In an historic first, Native Americans hold the majority on the San Juan County Commission following a packed swearing in ceremony Monday in Monticello.

Photo of closed road at Arches National Park.
Judy Fahys/KUER News

The U.S. Interior Department announced Sunday it will take the extraordinary step of using entrance fees for daily operations during the partial government shutdown.

Photo of Capitol Reef closed.
StephenTrimble.com

As the partial government shutdown appeared likely to enter its third week, Utah’s tourism office assembled plans to fund another week of skeleton services at the state’s two busiest national parks.

Photo of wildland firefighters.
Courtesy: Dollar Ridge Fire

Utah experienced its driest year on record in 2018, leaving forests and range that had little soil moisture to begin with even more vulnerable to igniting in what turned out to be an extraordinary — and costly — fire season.

Year-end picture
Renee Bright / KUER

It was a year of big — big fires, big ballot initiatives and big political upsets — that collectively defined Utah in 2018 as the state continued its growth spurt. The Beehive State added another 50,000 people this year, owing both to the state’s healthy economy and low unemployment. But Utah also weathered more troublesome headlines, whether through the rushed creation of a controversial Inland Port in northwest Salt Lake City or the publication of sexual abuse allegations implicating leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholic Church.

KUER reporters picked out some of the top stories of this year and explain why they mattered.

Photo of snowy mountain scene
Casey Sutcliffe/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Sporadic storms since Thanksgiving have resulted in precipitation levels throughout Utah that are, in general, above normal for the beginning of the year. It’s a welcome trend following the state’s driest year on record.

iStock.com

Utah tourism officials were braced  for a partial government shutdown that threatened to close the gates at the five national parks in the state – Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Zion. KUER’s Judy Fahys spoke with Vicki Varela, director of tourism for Utah, about preparations in case of a shutdown, which ultimately did begin over the weekend.

Renee Bright / KUER

Sen. Orrin Hatch will retire next month, winding down a political career spanning four decades ... longer than any elected official in Utah's history. The 84-year-old will likely be remembered for his role in bruising Supreme Court nomination battles, passing the Children's Health Insurance Program and funneling millions of dollars back to Utah.

But this week, KUER is remembering lesser known parts of Hatch's legacy. 

 

Few, if any, would call Orrin Hatch an environmentalist.

Photo of Bishop and Reyes.
KUER

Several Mountain West Republicans are reportedly on the short list to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, after President Donald Trump announced his imminent departure over the weekend.

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