Health Science & Environment | KUER 90.1

Health Science & Environment

Photo of six people seated at a conference table, as an audience seated in chairs looks on.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONTICELLO — Just south of Moab, across the boundary splitting Grand and San Juan counties, the night sky in Spanish Valley is dark enough for residents to make out full constellations. 

Photo of piles of debris burning in the distance amidst small piles of snow.
Courtesy of Utah Fire Info, via Twitter.

Updated 9:13 a.m. MST 11/15/19

The closed fire season in Southwest Utah has been extended until Nov. 30 due to unprecedented conditions across the region, state fire officials announced this week.

Photo of smog over Salt Lake City.
Eltiempo10 / Wikicommons

A new draft proposal by the Trump administration may throw both current and future clean air and water laws into question.

Bureau of Land Management

Reintroduced legislation incentivizing more renewable energy projects on public lands is getting rare bipartisan support.

Photo of University of Utah suicidologist Dr. Doug Gray, Rep. Ben McAdams, and state Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, at a press conference.
Jon Reed / KUER

At a press event Friday, Rep. Ben McAdams spoke about legislation he recently introduced to fund research grants aimed at understanding why suicide rates are on the rise, particularly in Utah.

Photo of William Perry Pendley on a bike.
Eric Coulter / Bureau of Land Management

A government watchdog on Wednesday filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management to find out why it hired a one-time, anti-public lands advocate to run the agency. 

A photo of hoodoos and banded, multi-color canyon walls in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Courtesy of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Verizon Wireless has proposed a new cell phone tower for Bryce Canyon National Park, and officials want to know what the public thinks. 

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to roll back Obama-era rules governing how coal-fired power plants store and release toxic waste.

Photo of an issue of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

The Salt Lake Tribune announced Monday the IRS has approved its request to become a nonprofit. The paper was surprised to learn Friday that the approval came quicker than expected, and makes The Tribune the first for-profit newspaper in the country to transition to a non-profit model. KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with The Salt Lake Tribune Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce about the news.

Photo of online Medicaid application.
Renee Bright / KUER

Friday marked the beginning of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. And this year, Utahns will have more options. 

The Rocky Mountain Power logo is on a sign outside a brick building.
Brian Albers / KUER

Salt Lake County announced it is hopping on the 100% renewable energy bandwagon. Officials passed a resolution Tuesday to transition the county to total net use by 2030, still making use of some traditional energy sources while adding enough renewables to offset them. The county joins a slew of other Utah communities that have committed to similar goals, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Summit County and the city of Moab. 

Researchers writing in the journal Science found that when kids get measles, it can cause “amnesia” in the immune system. 

In much of the Mountain West, measles vaccination rates are below the recommended 95% level.

Stock photo of an underground mine shaft.
iStock

The largest private coal company in the country, Murray Energy Corporation, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, leaving workers at its 15 active mines across the country — including one in Utah — wondering how the move will affect their livelihoods. 

A growing number of pharmacists across the country are now offering birth control directly to patients -- no doctor’s visit required. That includes pharmacists at grocery stores in the Kroger chain -- like Fred Meyers, King Soopers, City Market and Smith’s -- in addition to Albertson’s and Safeway stores.

Photo of a team of firefighters climbing a slope as smoke rises from a forest behind them.
Courtesy of Utah County Fire Department

Utah sent dozens of firefighters to California this week. 

Their goal is to help combat the blazes that have led to widespread power shut-offs and evacuations across the Golden State. California has seen a string of horrific fire seasons over the past few years, which it attributes to a changing climate.

Photo of the land where a new Tyson Foods facility will be located.
Jon Reed / KUER

Bulldozers have begun flattening out the 800 acres that will one day be home to a Tyson Foods meat packing facility, the first for the company west of the Rocky Mountains. The company is one of the largest food processors in the country and expects to employ 800 people when the plant opens in 2021, with entry level jobs starting at a minimum of $16/hour.

A new analysis from the Bozeman-based non-profit Headwaters Economics shows that the outdoor recreation industry is growing more than twice as fast as the overall economy, and the industry has an especially outsized role in the Mountain West.

On The Colorado River's Banks, A Toxic Pile Continues To Shrink

Oct 28, 2019

In a park, nestled in a red rock canyon outside Moab, Utah -- a short drive from a giant pile of uranium tailings -- a crowd gathered for a celebration. Elected officials and community members mingled, and enjoyed refreshments. 

Volunteers placed pieces of yellow cake in small paper bowls.

Photo illustration showing documents.
Renee Bright / KUER

The Interior Department has walked back controversial efforts to curb public records requests in a final rule published Friday

Five people hunch over a table, signing documents.
Tony Young / Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development

ST. GEORGE — Five new states signed a pledge to support outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship at the Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit on Thursday. 

Photo of Asylum 49 sign.
Nate Heygi / Mountain West News Bureau

  

It’s Saturday night, and I’m in Asylum 49’s basement. It’s actually an old hospital. Heavy metal is blasting from a loudspeaker. The basement’s pitch black except for a single, flickering strobe light. 

Photo of wild horses.
Bureau of Land Management

Reducing the number of wild horses and burros on Western public lands could take 15 years and cost $5 billion, the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management told reporters during a news conference this week. 

In the next few weeks, the U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a massive controlled burn on a remote mountain in Utah, part of the agency’s efforts to better understand the behavior of giant fires that are becoming more common in the West.

A new report from Congress’s watchdog says employees overseeing public lands are facing hundreds of threats and assaults.

 


A new report shows youth suicide rates have spiked alarmingly in recent years, especially in the Mountain West.

Jon Reed / KUER

With winter quickly approaching, Salt Lake City’s homeless service providers are turning to the community for support. Operators of the city’s two brand new shelters – The Gail Miller Resource Center for men and women, and the Geraldine E. King for women – as well as a third coming in November, are calling for everything from volunteer time to winter clothing, particularly gloves and socks. 

Photo of northeast quadrant wetlands.
Brian Albers / KUER

As the Inland Port Authority Board prepares to meet for the first time since protestors interrupted its July meeting, opponents of the proposed trade hub in Salt Lake City are calling for a review of the potential environment impacts.

Flocks of birds float on the surface of a lake. Cliff face, shining with alpenglow, rise up behind them.
Photo courtesy of Washington County Water Conservancy District.

It has been a year of extreme weather in St. George. 

Photo of NarcX containers.
Jon Reed / KUER

Utah leaders met at the Capitol Wednesday to discuss what they say could be a major breakthrough in opioid addiction prevention. 

Photo of members of Montana's Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force.
Tim Fox via Twitter

Tribal representatives in Montana are leaving the state’s new Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force in protest of Attorney General Tim Fox’s support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

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