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AM News Brief: Pollution Control, Free Parks For Veterans & Female Inmate Loses Discrimination Case

Photo of Hunter Canyon Coal Plant
iStock.com / desertsolitaire
Federal environmental officials approved a Utah plan for new pollution controls on coal-fired power plants. The plan applies to emissions reductions for PacificCorp's Hunter (pictured) and Huntington power plants in Emery County. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, October 29, 2020

State

Health Association Speaks Out On Pandemic Measures

The Utah Public Health Association is calling for more measures to tackle the surge of COVID-19 in the state. The advocacy group of public health workers said in a statement it supports the state's new Transmission Index that indicates prevalence of the virus by county. But the group said more needs to be done because healthcare workers are exhausted. Among the groups recommendations are expanded testing, cooperation with contact tracers and a unified message on masks and testing from all elected leaders. — Diane Maggipinto

Northern Utah

Pacific Islander Activist Remembered

Community members are mourning the loss of Margarita Satini, an activist from Cottonwood Heights who died from COVID-19 complications earlier this week. Around a hundred people gathered at the State Capitol Wednesday to share memories of her. She was just 50-years-old, but founded the Utah Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Coalition, worked for the state Chapter of the Sierra Club and led COVID-19 outreach efforts in her community. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Protest Planned At Home Of State Epidemiologist

The group Utahns for Medical Freedom planned a protest at state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn’s house Thursday in response to Utah’s COVID-19 restrictions. But Salt Lake City Police Officer Daniel Carlson said it’s actually against city ordinance to protest at someone’s house. He said they encourage people to exercise their rights, but they “also want our residents to feel safe in their homes.” Carlson said a patrol car will be stationed outside Dunn’s home. People who violate the law could be arrested and face up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. As far as publishing Dunn’s address goes, Carlson said law enforcement can’t stop public information from being posted. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Utah Pollution Control Plan Gets Federal Approval

Federal environmental officials approved a Utah plan for new pollution controls on coal-fired power plants. The goal is to reduce haze near Arches and Canyonlands national parks and nearby wilderness areas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its decision Wednesday. The plan applies to emissions reductions for PacificCorp's Hunter and Huntington power plants in Emery County. The EPA said the plan calls for providing credits for nitrogen oxide emissions control systems at the plants in eastern Utah. Environmentalists said it doesn't go far enough. — Associated Press

Veterans To Enjoy Free National Park Entry

Entry fees at national parks will be waived for Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans starting on Veteran's Day Nov. 11 and every day thereafter. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt made the announcement Wednesday at the Gold Star Military Museum in Iowa. Visits to wildlife refuges and other federal lands managed by Interior also will be free. The Park Service already offers complimentary entry to active-duty military and disabled vets and their families. This initiative expands the benefit to 20 million more people. — Diane Maggipinto

Region

Wyoming Female Inmate Loses Discrimination Case

A female inmate at the center of a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Wyoming Department of Corrections lost her appeal after a ruling in the Tenth Circuit Court. Taylor Blanchard was a first-time offender when she was charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance. Her age and the nature of the crime made her eligible for a boot camp that would have cut down her sentence significantly. However, the in-state program was only available to men. Wyoming sent her to a similar program in Florida, and the judge ruled the case was moot as Blanchard has now completed that out-of-state program. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau