Health Science & Environment | KUER 90.1

Health Science & Environment

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.

An Interior Department committee is recommending that the National Park Service privatize campgrounds in national parks and offer services such as WI-FI and food trucks.

Photo of a Navajo man wearing a black cowboy hat stands in front of a sign that says "Indigenous People’s Day."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Students at Utah State University Blanding rose before dawn this morning to greet the sun with corn pollen in the Navajo tradition, before embarking on a 5k run to kick off the college’s first Indigenous People’s Day. 

Mountain West states have some of the lowest rates of youth obesity in the country, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Utah's rate of 8.7% was found to be the lowest in the country, while Colorado and Montana, with rates of 10.7% and 10.8%, respectively, were also among the six states with obesity rates statistically significantly lower than the national average of 15.3%.

A few months ago, Tricia Shields was having a regular day at work. 

“I think I was daydreaming at my desk,” says Shields, a resident of Parker, Colorado, who was at the time working at a kidney care center in Denver.

Climate change has been called the new normal. But residents in some parts of the Southwest say after living through the last two years, there’s nothing normal about it. 

Communities in the Four Corners -- where the borders of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet -- have been bouncing between desperately dry and record-breaking moisture since the winter of 2017, forcing people dependent on the reliability and predictability of water to adapt.

A line delineates where burned and unburned sections of grassland and sagebrush.
David Fuchs / KUER

Updated 2:45 p.m. MDT 10/07/19:

Utah’s 2019 fire season has been a mild one, according to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

It's flu season, so public health officials are pushing the flu shot, but many in the Mountain West are particularly bad at taking that advice.

Photo of Kate MacGregor.
U.S. Department of the Interior

President Donald Trump intends to nominate a long-time Republican Hill staffer to help lead the nation’s largest land management agency.

Photo of Civica Rx Representative holding up a vial of antibiotics.
Jon Reed / KUER

A Utah-based drug maker announced today it has taken its first step towards curbing price spikes and shortages of generic drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. 

David Vela, the former superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, is now the acting director of the National Park Service.

Wildland firefighters use fire retardant — the red stuff that air tankers drop — to suppress existing blazes. But Stanford researchers have developed a gel-like fluid they say makes fire retardant last longer and could prevent wildfires from igniting in the first place if applied to ignition-prone areas.

Off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs will soon be allowed on roads in Utah’s national parks after a controversial policy change last week.

 


Photo of air pollution over the Great Salt Lake.
Brian Albers / KUER

Levels of the fine particulates found in northern Utah’s winter inversions have decreased over three years, putting the area in line with federal air quality standards for the first time in over a decade.

Photo of Main Street in Park City, UT.
Pixabay

Setting environmental goals these days isn’t just about projecting an image — for many companies, it’s also good for business.

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