News Brief: Coal, Wolves & Rural Mortality | KUER 90.1

News Brief: Coal, Wolves & Rural Mortality

Dec 13, 2019

Friday morning, December 13, 2019

Central Utah

Transitioning From Coal In Delta

Officials in Los Angeles have new plans for the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, Utah. The coal plant supplies most of LA’s power, but is slated to close in 2025. The plan was to build a natural gas plant at the site, though now the LA Department of Water and Power — after pressure from environmental groups — are saying the plant would also burn renewable hydrogen fuel, and eventually phase out natural gas altogether. That would be a first in the energy world, and some critics are skeptical about whether the technology is possible. But if successful, officials say it could become a global model. — Jon Reed

State

Utah Lawmakers Pass Tax Reform Bill

The Utah Legislature passed a tax reform bill that lawmakers say stabilizes the state's funding structure and implements a tax cut for Utahns. A statement late last night from House Speaker Brad Wilson and Senate President Stuart Adams says the bill includes targeted credits for lower-income individuals and families, as well as a $160 million tax cut in ongoing funds and $88 million in one-time funds. Advocates for low-income Utahns have been against the threatened changes, particularly the new taxes on food. Governor Herbert says he looks forward to signing it. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Region

Wolf Comeback In Colorado

There’s an initiative in Colorado to bring wolves back to the state, and backers say they have the signatures they need to get the issue on the 2020 ballot. Gray wolves have already re-entered Idaho, Montana Yellowstone National Park. Rob Edward of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund says wolves in Colorado will mean a population that spans from the Arctic to the border of Mexico through the Rockies. Opponents to the initiative argue the animal could harm people and are especially dangerous to livestock. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

Nation

Rural Mortality

Nationwide, more and more people are surviving childhood. But researchers found those improvements are happening more slowly in rural areas than in urban ones. Deaths due to accidental injuries — like car crashes — were twice as high among rural children than urban ones. But rural children were “markedly less likely to be killed by others.” — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau