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AM News Brief: Withdrawing Wolverine Protection Plan, COVID Red Zone & Candidates And Climate Change

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Andrew Gainer
Flickr CC
U.S. wildlife officials are withdrawing proposed protections for the wolverine. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, October 9, 2020

Southern Utah

Navajo Farmers Look To Water Development

The Utah Navajo Water Rights Settlement contains over $200 million for water infrastructure development. It passed the U.S. Senate this summer and is now stuck in the House, but some groups are already making plans for how that money could be used. Shem Liechty, an engineer from Salt Lake City, has surveyed over 50 farms in order to put together a plan for infrastructure development. He says many of the farmers could be back in business with minor investments in infrastructure. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region And Beyond

COVID Cases Per Capita Map.png
Utah Department of Health
Every area in the state measured by the Utah Department of Health case had 50 cases or more per 100,000 people in the past two weeks.

Utah In The COVID “Red Zone”

Recent internal documents from the White House show most of our region in the “red zone” in terms of new coronavirus cases. The most recent report ranked Montana 4th and Utah 5th for new per capita cases. Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada also rank in the red zone. The rankings are part of weekly reports distributed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to state governors — though they are not made public. The Center For Public Integrity has been obtaining these documents by going directly to the states. The reports include a range of state-specific data and recommendations for local health officials like increased testing and mask use, to limiting hours and occupancy in bars or closing schools. — Beau Baker, Mountain West News Bureau

Withdrawing Proposed Wolverine Protection

U.S. wildlife officials are withdrawing proposed protections for the wolverine. The move comes after government biologists concluded the rare and elusive predator is not as threatened by climate change as once thought. A prior attempt to withdraw proposed protections was blocked by a judge in Montana who pointed to evidence from government scientists that the species was “squarely in the path of climate change.” But officials said new research shows enough snow will persist at high elevations for wolverines to be able to build their dens in mountain snowfields. Wildlife advocates said they expect to challenge the decision in court. — Associated Press

Congressional COVID

Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-CA, said he tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into passing contact with Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee. Lee's spokesperson said the two members of congress live next door to each other in the same building in Washington and that Lee told Carbajal of his diagnosis as soon as he knew. — Associated Press

Asking Candidates About Climate Change

Climate change has not been center stage during presidential and vice presidential debates in recent years. Wednesday night’s debate was different, but many have criticized how the discussion was framed. For instance, scientists say moderators and journalists should not be asking politicians if they believe in climate change, but if they understand it, and what they plan to do about it. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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