Why Moab is so noisy, hedge funds eye Colorado River water and a uranium quid pro quo
February's southeast Utah news highlights from the Canyon Echo.
I traveled to Moab last week to report on an issue that is driving residents crazy: round-the-clock noise from packs of off-road UTV’s treating city streets like “a go-kart track” and a state law that prohibits local officials from taking action.
One lifelong Moab resident, who recently became a father, said the sound of the vehicles cuts right through the walls of his new straw bale home in an affordable housing development, often after midnight. “It made me stress so hard I’ve chipped my teeth,” he said.
His baby can’t sleep and he wears noise-canceling headphones in the house. Why it’s so loud in Moab.
Earlier in February, I reported on the dire situation in the Colorado River basin, where a dismal winter snow pack is causing water managers to scramble while Wall Street speculators circle. Hedge funds have been buying farm land across the Southwest in an effort to create a private market on water speculation.
“I’ve been involved in water for a long, long time,” said Gene Shawcroft, Utah’s Upper Colorado River Commissioner. “I don’t see room for private speculation on Colorado River water — or water anywhere, for that matter.”
I also dug through campaign finance filings for members of Congress who championed the creation of a $75 million, taxpayer-funded stockpile for domestically mined uranium, which environmental groups have characterized as an “industry bailout.”
Executives and board members at Energy Fuels, a company incorporated in Canada and headquartered in Colorado that has interests in Utah, donated over $50,000 to lawmakers over the last five years. The donations often correlated with pro-industry actions being taken by the members of Congress.
For example, on Feb. 7, 2018, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing in favor of government support for uranium companies mining in the United States. That same day, 15 individuals and two political action committees with ties to the uranium industry donated nearly $12,000 to Barrasso’s Senate campaign.
Accountable.US (formerly known as the Western Values Project) featured the reporting in a press release titled, “Exposed: Senator Barrasso's Special Interest Quid Pro Quo.”
Read the full story here:
Campaign contributions, including from a Utah operator, preceded creation of federal uranium stockpile
Navajo Nation applauds expected extension of San Juan voting rights deal (The Salt Lake Tribune)
Remote Navajo Mountain clinic now ranks among Utah’s most vaccinated places (The Salt Lake Tribune)
Utah domestic violence shelters seek more state funding to meet need during COVID-19 (The Salt Lake Tribune)
SUWA can sue over Zinke’s secret meetings with Utah county commissioners over monuments (The Salt Lake Tribune)
Critics Say Bill To Define How State Spends Mineral Leasing Money Could Benefit Energy Industry (Kate Groetzinger / KUER)
‘There Isn't Just One Way’: Students On The Navajo Nation Find Ways To Learn At Home During Pandemic (Kate Groetzinger / KUER)
R.S. 2477 and the Utah road-fetish: Enviros score a quiet victory in war over public lands roads (Jonathan Thompson / The Land Desk)
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