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AM New Brief: ‘Pure’ Water, UTA On Demand & Oil And Gas Leases

A photo of a lake with mountains in the background.
Brian Albers
Silver lake in Brighton, Utah. Salt Lake City has relaunched its "Keep It Pure" initiative, a campaign aimed at keeping watersheds clean. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, May 25, 2021

Southern Utah

Parks Will Be Crowded

Utah’s state and national parks are gearing up for a busy Memorial Day weekend. It’s the start of the peak tourism season for Zion National Park, which could see more than 85,000 visitors from Friday to Monday, according to park spokesperson Amanda Rowland. She said people entering the park this weekend should expect long lines and full parking lots. Officials are encouraging people to “leave no trace,” which means dispose of waste properly and respect the natural environment. People should also be aware of current fire restrictions when visiting an area. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

Mind The Water

Salt Lake City has relaunched its "Keep It Pure" initiative, a campaign aimed at keeping watersheds clean. The Department of Public Utilities says they've rebooted the program as the number of people visiting mountains and watersheds surges. The department says about 60% of Salt Lake City's drinking water comes from the canyon watersheds in the central Wasatch Mountains. Among several recommendations, people are being asked to stay out of the water and on designated trails. They’re also urged to use bathroom facilities, not to litter and to keep dogs and other domesticated animals out of the watershed. — Pamela McCall

UTA On Demand

Utah Transit Authority is launching a late-night, on-demand service in Salt Lake City this Thursday. It’s aimed at late-night workers and people attending events or going to bars and restaurants. The shared rides will be available Thursday through Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. The service is door-to-door for people in wheelchairs and corner-to-corner for other riders. UTA said most people will walk three minutes or less to meet their driver. Rides cost $2.50 and require a phone app called Via. The service is scheduled to run through Sept. 4. — Elaine Clark

Man Arrested After Hitting Trooper With Dirt Bike

Police have arrested a Utah man after he hit a state highway patrol trooper while riding a dirt bike last weekend in Salt Lake City. ABC4 reported 20-year-old Jamin Jenkins allegedly sped up when officers tried to stop him and struck one of the troopers, who is expected to recover. Jenkins faces multiple charges including aggravated assault and purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol by a minor. He's also facing a charge for failing to respond to an officer's signal to stop. — Associated Press


Some Oil And Gas Leases Open

The Biden administration is issuing 37 new oil and gas leases in New Mexico this month. The decision comes months after the president put a freeze on companies renting more federal lands to drill for fossil fuels in an effort to fight climate change. Jeremy Nichols with the nonprofit environmental group WildEarth Guardians called the move hypocritical and said his group is planning legal action. A spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The BLM also opened public comment Monday on a proposed drilling permit near Dinosaur National Monument in Vernal, Utah. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Nuclear Reactor Reboot

Scientists in Idaho plan to remove the 62,000 pound stainless steel lid on one of the world’s most powerful nuclear test reactors. Idaho National Laboratory is about 80 miles northwest of Pocatello, and the Advanced Test Reactor there is being refurbished with new components. The work will also increase testing capacity on the reactor, which is used for experiments with military, medical and commercial applications. — Associated Press

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