Brian Maffly
Brian Maffly
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Trump's monument reduction could be reversed under Biden

Trump's monument reduction could be reversed under Biden

AP NEWSADVERTISEMENThttps://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-donald-trump-bears-utah-environment-dc66fa599c0868ccc34458467562ff1aClick to copyhttps://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-donald-trump-bears-utah-environment-dc66fa599c0868ccc34458467562ff1aClick to copyRelated topicsSALT LAKE CITY (AP) — With Joe Biden’s capture of the White House comes the likelihood that Utah’s two big national monuments will be restored to their original boundaries, reopening yet another front in the West’s public lands wars.Just as President Donald Trump invoked the Antiquities Act to cut 2 million acres from the...

November 14, 2020
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Ex-lawmaker Mike Noel gains stalking injunction against critic, who sees it as a gag order

Ex-lawmaker Mike Noel gains stalking injunction against critic, who sees it as a gag order

If anyone is used to confrontational politics, it’s Mike Noel. Utah’s most strident public lands firebrand got into more than his share of people’s faces during his 16-year tenure in the Utah House as a Republican representing much of southern Utah. In addition to standing up for traditional land uses, Noel will be, journalists, even federal prosecutors in harsh terms, sometimes accusing them of breaking laws and conspiring to undermine Utah’s rural communities. Last year, Noel blasted one of his critics, Kanab tour operator Will James, as “a worthless piece of garbage” as the two men...

November 15, 2020
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With a Biden win, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase monuments may soon be restored

With a Biden win, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase monuments may soon be restored

With Joe Biden’s capture of the White House comes the likelihood that Utah’s two big national monuments will be restored to their original boundaries, reopening yet another front in the West’s public lands wars. Just as President Donald Trump invoked the Antiquities Act to , Biden — assuming last week’s election results survive recounts and legal challenges — will hold the power to restore the monuments designated by two Democratic predecessors. Utah’s Republican leaders had hailed Trump’s move in 2017 to slash the monuments. Absent a repeal of the Antiquities Act, however, that victory may...

November 10, 2020
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Proposed oil railway would chew up 10,000 acres of Uinta Basin habitat

Proposed oil railway would chew up 10,000 acres of Uinta Basin habitat

A proposed oil-hauling railroad would degrade up to 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat in northeastern Utah, potentially disrupting migration corridors and ruining wetlands, according to a new draft environmental review. The federal Surface Transportation Board is reviewing the Uinta Basin Railway, proposed by a group of energy-producing Utah counties that hopes to connect the state’s oil patch to the national rail network. Such a transportation conduit would take hundreds of tanker trucks off Utah highways, but it would result in unavoidable, permanent and significant impacts, according the...

November 3, 2020
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EPA guts plan that would have slashed pollution from Utah coal plants

EPA guts plan that would have slashed pollution from Utah coal plants

Federal environmental officials have approved Utah’s new plan for limiting coal-fired power plant emissions to address “regional” haze marring the state’s famous national parks, although environmentalists say it’s a step backward when it comes to improving air quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision, , applies to PacificCorp’s Hunter and Huntington power plants in Emery County. The revised emission-reduction plan credits the utility’s prior and prior emission-reduction investments, concluding it does not need to make any new upgrades at the operating plants in order to...

October 29, 2020
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Activists say court ruling should wipe out huge swath of public lands actions under William Perry Pendley

Activists say court ruling should wipe out huge swath of public lands actions under William Perry Pendley

Under over the past year, the Bureau of Land Management has finalized decisions affecting coal mining, oil and gas development, wild horse management, national monument planning and numerous other public land issues important to Utah. Now a federal court ruling out of Montana could upend many of those actions after . The Sept. 25 ruling by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris put an end to Pendley’s status as the BLM’s acting director, although he remains the agency’s deputy director for policy and programs, a post that does not require Senate confirmation. But the harder question remains: How...

October 9, 2020
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Future of Utah’s rooftop solar industry at stake in utility rate case starting Tuesday

Future of Utah’s rooftop solar industry at stake in utility rate case starting Tuesday

A two-week hearing starting Tuesday before the could result in a “make-or-break” ruling for the rooftop solar industry in one of the nation’s sunniest states. The three-member PSC panel is weighing for excess solar power they export into the grid for their neighbors to use. , Utah’s largest utility, is seeking an 84% reduction, while solar advocates are pressing for an increase over the current export credit of 9.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or 90% of the utility’s average residential retail rate. The utility’s proposal ignores numerous benefits “distributed” power generation provides...

September 29, 2020
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A little reservoir behind the University of Utah is helping save an endangered fish

A little reservoir behind the University of Utah is helping save an endangered fish

Built in 1930 to capture water for a military installation at the mouth of a Wasatch Front canyon, Red Butte Reservoir has been harnessed for a new purpose, the rescue of Utah’s disappearing native fish. The tiny lake above the University of Utah campus is now teeming with . The suckers are now so plentiful that the relocates several hundred each September to where they belong — in Utah Lake. Fishing is strictly prohibited in , unless you are a state biologist on a mission to save an endangered species. “In the early ’90s, they were introduced into this reservoir as kind of an insurance...

September 26, 2020
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Beaver County hopes to block neighbor’s groundwater pumping project

Beaver County hopes to block neighbor’s groundwater pumping project

So much water has been pumped from under Utah’s Cedar Valley over the years that the ground is sinking by as much as 1.2 inches a year, leaving cracks on the valley floor. This is because the and other providers annually remove at least 7,000 more acre-feet from these aquifers than nature can replenish. So the of wells and pipelines that would extract water from under Beaver County’s Pine Valley, a place that gets less than eight inches of rain, and move it 66 miles to Cedar City. Thus opens the next battle in a long-running dispute between the two southwest Utah counties over precious...

August 29, 2020
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