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Politics & Government

Utah State University report dives into the state of Utah’s land, water and air

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Arby Reed
/
Flickr Creative Commons
“I have experienced with Utahns that when they know what to do, when they have maybe just a tiny incentive to do it, they do,” said Kelly Kopp, a professor at Utah State University and one of the report’s lead authors. “I saw that this summer very clearly.”

Utah State University researchers delivered a report to Gov. Spencer Cox Tuesday outlining challenges facing the state’s land, water and air quality — and possible solutions.

The report found efforts to reduce the pollutant that causes winter smog have been successful in Cache Valley and could be replicated on the Wasatch Front. It also said Utah’s long-term drought has allowed invasive grasses to spread in forests and increased wildfire risk.

The drought is expected to continue and the state will continue to have less water available.

Kelly Kopp, a professor at Utah State University and one of the report’s lead authors, said one of the biggest barriers to addressing water availability is Utahns not understanding how severe it is or how to use less water.

“I have experienced with Utahns that when they know what to do, when they have maybe just a tiny incentive to do it, they do,” Kopp said. “I saw that this summer very clearly.”

Cox said he’ll use the information to help him make policy decisions.

“We have limited resources,” he said. “It would be very nice to be able to do all of the good things, but we can't and so if we have to choose between them, this is where it's incredibly helpful to understand [these issues].”

Cox’s administration has been working with the state Legislature on several bills to help Utah conserve water, particularly among agricultural producers.

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