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PM News Brief: Blocking new mines, Cedar Breaks closing roads & national monument expansions

A photo of snow on red rocks.
National Park Service
Cedar Breaks scenic byway and Rim Road in southwest Utah have now closed for the season. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Dec. 10, 2021.

State

Bill coming to Legislature to help reduce high polluting cars

Utah Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, is bringing back a bill that would incentivize people to ditch their high polluting cars. He said he wants to help low-income people buy electric vehicles. The legislation would also help them purchase cars that have the newest — and therefore cleanest — emission standard: Tier 3. Stenquist said the incentive could be either a rebate or a tax break. The amount would depend on how polluting a person’s old car is and how clean the new one is. Stenquist ran a similar bill in 2019 but it didn’t pass. He said he’s hopeful it will this time since he’s added the income requirement and the state has a $614 million surplus in tax revenue. Read the full story. Sonja Hutson 

Northern Utah

Sale Lake County moves to block new mining in Wasatch Canyon 

Salt Lake County is looking to put an end to new mines in the area. The county council voted Friday morning to start the legislative process to do so. It could block attempts to mine sand, gravel or rock out of the Wasatch Canyons. The Salt Lake Tribune reports it’s in response to a new company called Tree Farm. It wants to use drills and heavy explosives in Parleys Canyon to excavate 2 million tons of limestone a year. County Mayor Jenny Wilson released a statement thanking the council for taking action. She said her priority is to have a clean environment and preserve the “canyon’s precious areas.” — Ross Terrell 

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

Southern Utah

Cedar Breaks closes scenic byway and Rim Road for the winter

Cedar Breaks scenic byway and Rim Road in southwest Utah have now closed for the season. Monument officials said they shut down roads to and through the park after the area received its first significant snowfall of the year. They are closing a month later than they did last year. From May through this week, more than 666,000 people have visited the monument. That’s down from record high visitation over the same time period in 2020. Cedar Breaks remains open and vehicles can access the northern side of the monument using Highway 143. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Western officials want more land for national monuments

A group of Western elected officials is asking the Biden administration to designate more public lands as national monuments. City and county officials from the region sent a letter asking the president to use his authority under the Antiquities Act. They say they’re hoping to address overcrowding and some of the effects of climate change and protected public lands are the backbone of the outdoor tourism economy — especially in rural areas. Among the signatories were the Mayors of Alta and Park City — along with council members and county commissioners from Castle Valley, Moab, Grand and Summit Counties. — Lucia Starbuck, KUNR

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