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PM News Brief: Mountain Lions, Saving Water & The Biggest Draw For Tech Workers

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Anton via Wikimedia Commons
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A group of Utah businesses is asking Gov. Spencer Cox to be more aggressive with water conservation in the state. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, July 13, 2021

State

Great Outdoors Biggest Draw For Tech Workers

A new study found outdoor recreation is the number one reason tech sector employees live and work in Utah. The research comes from The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and Utah Outdoor Partners, a non-profit focused on the business of outdoor recreation. They found that 79% of Utah transplants rated outdoor recreation the most important factor in their decision to move to the state — over career advancement opportunities and pay. 82% of Utah natives who left the state said they moved back for outdoor life — ahead of family and cost of living. This research complements a 2018 survey that looked at the importance of Utah’s outdoors and employee recruitment. — Tess Roundy

“Save 2% For Utah”

A group of Utah businesses is asking Gov. Spencer Cox to be more aggressive with water conservation in the state. More than 50 businesses have signed on to the campaign “Save 2% For Utah.” It’s calling for Utah to increase its water conservation goal to 2% every year. Right now the state’s goal is 0.5% per year, but activists said that does not match the severity of this year’s drought. Utah is facing some of the worst drought conditions it’s seen in decades. 98% of the state is currently experiencing extreme or exceptional drought, and the Utah Division of Water Resources says some reservoirs will run dry by the end of this year. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Mountain Lion Sightings

Police said the drought gripping the West is contributing to an increased number of mountain lion sightings in Utah. They said it appears cougars are being forced into more populated areas to get enough water to drink. Two hikers reported a very close cougar encounter while hiking on a trail near Draper. The women scooped up their small dog and backed away slowly down the trail as the big cat tracked them. They followed safety precautions and were able to get away. The Utah Division of Wildlife advises that people try to make themselves look as large or intimidating as possible if they encounter a mountain lion. They also say to never turn and run. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Talking To Doctors About Opioids

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, introduced legislation that would allow patients to notify their healthcare providers in advance that they do not wish to be treated with opioids. It aims at combating the opioid epidemic. Dr. Shane Brogan, a pain physician with Huntsman Cancer Institute, said the bill has good intentions, but a more important step would be to make it easier to access other pain treatment options — like physical therapy. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Drilling Approvals On The Rise

Oil production is ramping up on federal public lands despite President Biden’s promise to end new drilling. Approvals for new projects are on pace to hit their highest levels since the Bush administration. The boom is being driven by rising crude prices after a massive slump during the pandemic. During his campaign, Biden promised to end oil and gas permitting on millions of acres of federal lands, but environmental groups say he isn’t following through and that’s exacerbating climate change. The Interior Department said these projects were already in the pipeline before Biden took power. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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