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AM News Brief: Inversion Season, Montana Mask Order & Utah On Election Certification

Photo of smog.
Judy Fahys / KUER
/
Utah is entering the worst of its inversion season, which is when cold air near the ground is trapped by warm air above, giving pollutants nowhere to go. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, January 7, 2021

State

Utah Delegation On Election Results

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said the Senate can’t change the results of a presidential election once they’ve been certified by the Electoral College. Several Congressional Republicans objected to results from swing states as they were read on the floor Wednesday night. But Lee held a pocket-size copy of the constitution during his speech on the Senate floor. This simply isn't how our federal system is supposed to work,” he said. “Our job is to convene to open the ballots and to count them. That's it.”

Utah’s other senator, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, also spoke out against members of his party’s efforts to change the outcome of the election. He said it goes against the will of the American people. Utah’s newly-elected Republican Congressman Rep. Burgess Owens as well as Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, voted for the objection to the Pennsylavnia’s election results. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, and newly-elected Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, voted to let the results stand. Read the full storySonja Hutson

Northern Utah

Election Protest At Utah Capitol

Hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters protested at the Utah State Capitol Wednesday as pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Protesters wore “Make America Great Again” hats, waved “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and chanted “stop the steal,” referring to the presidential election results. But there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud or election irregularities. Many of the protestors were armed, and members from several militias, including the Proud Boys and the Utah Citizens’ Alarm, were present. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox encouraged protesting peacefully, but he asked Utahns to condemn violence at the U.S. Capitol. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Small Storms May Ease Inversion Season

Utah is entering the worst of its inversion season, which is when cold air near the ground is trapped by warm air above, giving pollutants nowhere to go. From now until February, people living along the Wasatch Front can expect to experience poor air quality. But this year may not be as bad as usual, according to Bo Call with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Call said small storms and fronts in the coming weeks are expected to break up the winter phenomena. — Lexi Peery

Southern Utah

New Product May Not Mean New Jobs At Uranium Mill

Energy Fuels executives are touting the potential of their uranium mill in San Juan County to process ore for rare earth elements, which are used in things like iPhones and electric cars. Spokesperson Curtis Moore said the 2,500 tons of ore they will process in 2021 is only a fraction of the mill’s capacity though, and the company isn’t likely to add jobs. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Montana Governor Wants To Rescind Mask Order

The U.S. saw its highest number of COVID–19 deaths Tuesday. Meanwhile, the newly-elected Montana governor is planning to rescind its statewide mask order. Republican Greg Gianforte said he is waiting on two things. The state’s GOP-controlled state Legislature must pass COVID-19-related liability protections for businesses. Then, as soon as the state’s most vulnerable people are vaccinated, he said he will lift the statewide mask mandate. Critics said the move would be premature. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau