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PM News Brief: West High lockdown, Navajo hardship checks & canceling drilling leases

A photo of the entrance to West High School.
Wikimedia Commons
West High School in Salt Lake City was placed on lockdown Monday after a student allegedly brought a gun to the school. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, Dec. 13, 2021


Utah and other upper basin states overusing Colorado River 

Environmental groups claim Utah and two other upper basin states are overusing their share of water from the Colorado River. The Utah Rivers Council released a report Monday outlining that the Colorado’s flows have dropped 20% since 2000. The region has been experiencing a drought since then. But that hasn’t stopped Utah and other nearby states from pursuing large water projects. Utah’s proposed diversion is the controversial Lake Powell Pipeline. The report comes as users meet this week to discuss issues and projects along the river. Read the full story.Lexi Peery

Utah weekend COVID update 

Since Friday, Utah has seen nearly 2,700 new COVID cases. That’s an improvement compared to last Monday’s case count. Over the last week, the state’s positivity rate and seven day average of new cases are both down. Hospitalizations remain essentially unchanged but about 97% of the state’s ICU beds are occupied. Health officials said 21 more people have died from the virus. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Three West High School students detained following gun threat

West High School in Salt Lake City was placed on lockdown Monday after a student allegedly brought a gun to the school. The Salt Lake City Police Department said it detained three students Monday afternoon — one of them was transferred to the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center. Police believe one of the students stole the firearm from a family member, but officers said the weapon has not yet been found. Threats in the Box Elder School District Monday morning forced schools there to move classes online. — Caroline Ballard


Conservation groups ask Biden to cancel proposed oil and gas leases

Ten conservation groups have filed formal comments asking the Biden administration to cancel proposed federal oil and gas leases. The idea being to prevent further harm to the climate. The lease sales span more than 300,000 acres across several states, but most are in Wyoming and Colorado. The conservation groups include the Center for Biological Diversity and Waterkeeper Alliance. In the comments filed last week, the groups say the lease sales violate several laws. In June, a federal judge blocked an attempt by Biden to pause oil and gas leasing on public lands. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau 

Hardship assistance checks remain unclaimed on Navajo Nation 

Navajo Nation officials said Monday about 7,500 hardship assistance checks have been unclaimed. The money comes from the federal CARES Act. The tribal nation received $714 million in COVID relief in 2020. President Jonathan Nez directed about half of it to go toward direct payments for Navajo individuals. As of this month, more than 300,000 residents have applied for hardship assistance. The nation is asking people to claim their checks since all CARES act funding must be spent by the end of the year. — Ross Terrell

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