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AM News Brief: Stockpiled Energy Permits, Vaccines And Rural Americans & Curtis On Impeachment

Photo of an oil well.
Fyletto
/
iStock.com
In the closing months of the Trump administration, energy companies stockpiled drilling permits. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, January 12, 2021

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City In Race To Vaccinate Teachers

It didn’t happen as quickly as originally planned, but vaccinations for Utah’s public school teachers and staff are starting this week. But the new timeline might not be fast enough for Salt Lake City teachers to get a $1,500 state bonus offered by state lawmakers if the district opens for in-person classes by Feb. 8. District officials said Monday they are receiving 800 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week, which is enough for nearly a quarter of the staff. But it could still take anywhere from a few weeks to two months for the entire staff to get the two doses required. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Vaccinations Arrive At Homeless Hospice Center

No one living at a Salt Lake City hospice center for people experiencing homelessness has tested positive for COVID-19, but the vaccine's arrival has provided a new sense of relief. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that staff and medically fragile residents at the Inn Between began getting vaccinated over the weekend. Utah is giving doses to residents and staff at long-term care facilities in its first vaccination phase. Many care facilities have been devastated by outbreaks. Nearly 4,500 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

National Guard Assigned To St. George Care Facility

Trained nurses and medics from the Utah National Guard are being assigned to help long-term care facilities deal with the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, nine service members started working at a facility in St. George that is close to maximum capacity. Other teams are on standby to help facilities in Ogden, Salt Lake City and Orem. The National Guard has also been helping with contact tracing, mobile testing and transporting supplies. — Elaine Clark

Region/Nation

Curtis: Impeachment Has “No Chance Of Reaching A Thoughtful Conclusion”

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, said 48 hours is not enough time for a thoughtful debate on impeachment. In a statement Monday, he said there should be consequences for President Donald Trump’s role in last week’s violence at the Capitol. House Democrats filed the impeachment resolution Monday, and a vote is expected as early as Wednesday. Curtis said the timeline is unfair to Trump voters and will not help reunite the country. The congressman did say he would support the impeachment process if there were time for hearings and testimony. — Elaine Clark

Energy Permits Could Keep Oil Pumping For Years

In the closing months of the Trump administration, energy companies stockpiled drilling permits. An Associated Press analysis of government data shows the effort centered on oil-rich federal lands in New Mexico and Wyoming. It accelerated in September and October as President-elect Joe Biden was cementing his lead over President Donald Trump. The stockpiling is enough to keep companies pumping for oil on western public lands for years. That could undercut Biden’s plans to block new drilling as a way to address climate change. The industry was aided by speedier permitting approvals since Trump took office. — Associated Press

Third Of Rural Americans Resistant To Vaccine

About a third of Americans living in rural areas said they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine according to new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. It also found that most rural residents view getting vaccinated as mostly a personal choice rather than part of everyone’s responsibility to protect the health of others. Experts say though that individual vaccinations help protect the community by stopping the spread of germs. – Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau