Environmental news from around the state and the west.
by Amy Brunvand
Sierra Club tracks Utah legislature bills
Monday, January 25 is the first day of Utah Legislature 2010 General Session, and there is bound to be proposed legislation that is good, bad, or catastrophic for the environment. The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club offers a bill tracker that makes it easy to keep abreast of important environmental legislation.Why not make a New Year’s resolution to speak up for the environment by writing letters, making phone calls, or even going up to the State Capitol to lobby in person?
Sierra Club Guide to Utah Legislature: http://utah.sierraclub.org/legislative.asp
Bishop avoids hot waste vote; Bennett waffles
In December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Radioactive Import Deterrence Act, a bill to ban importing foreign radioactive waste. Jim Matheson (D-2) and Jason Chaffetz (R-3) both voted in favor of banning foreign waste, but even though the issue is of primary importance to Utah, Congressman Rob Bishop (R-1) failed to even show up for the vote. It seems Bishop, former lobbyist for EnergySolutions (the rad-waste dump in XXXX County due to suffer from such legislation), wanted to avoid having his vote on record. When the bill moved to the Senate for final approval, Bob Bennett (R) threw up another roadblock saying he wants to solve the issue through the courts, not legislation. HEAL Utah suggests putting the pressure on legislators who choose EnergySolutions over their constituents.
Getting rid of foreign nuclear waste: http://www//tinyurl.com/yesvut5
Car sharing expands in SLC
On December 16, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker helped celebrate the expansion of U Car Share, a two-year-old car-sharing service run by U-Haul. Car sharing offers an alternative to car ownership since participants who don’t need to use a car every day can still get easy access to a car (or a bigger car) when they need one. Members can reserve a car online and pick it up from stalls located throughout Salt Lake City and on the University of Utah campus. “Car sharing supports the City’s long-term economic, environmental and social sustainability goals through increasing balanced transportation options and green alternatives for residents and visitors,’ said the Mayor in a press release. “I encourage participation as we focus on solutions to create a more sustainable city.” U Car Share vehicles come equipped with a “Salt Lake City Green” parking decal that allows free parking at Salt Lake City parking meters. To encourage new members to sign up, the enrollment fee has been reduced to $5 through January 15.
U Car Share: http://www.tinyurl.com/y8a3wkw
Save Our Canyons is opposing a proposal from Solitude ski resort to expand into Silver Fork Basin. The letter that Solitude Mountain Resort owner David DeSeelhorst sent to the U.S. Forest Service says that more wilderness would limit Solitude’s ability to “respond to customer demands in an evolving and competitive ski industry.” If the proposed expansion does move forward, the Forest Service is likely to require an Environmental Impact Statement with a public comment period. Solitude Mountain Resort rated a “C” on the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition 2009 Environmental Report Card.
Save Our Canyons: http://www.saveourcanyons.org/
Otters re-introduced to Provo River
In November the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources released a female river otter on the Provo River between Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs in hopes of re-establishing a new population. The otter has an implanted transmitter so BYU scientists can study her activities. The non-profit organization Utah Wildlife in Need provided $66,000 for otter reintroduction and hopes to raise another $74,000 to complete the restoration project.
Utah Wildlife in Need: http://www.uwin.org
Recycle your e-waste
Electronic equipment contains toxic compounds such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants that can leach into the soil and water supplies or contaminate our air if electronics are sent to landfills or incinerated. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality offers advice on recycling e-waste. Check the SLCgreen webpage for announcements of future e-waste collection events.
Utah DEQ: Recycling Electronics Responsibly: http://www.tinyurl.com/y9rxo58
Trees to the curb: Jan. 1-30
Salt Lake County will collect Christmas trees from your curb and have them mulched. Please do not put trees in your garbage or recycle can; Leave your tree at the curb, not in the street. Trees must be bare of tinsel, flocking and ornaments.