Salt Lake City Mayor Becker to Congress: Climate bill needs to go further—Thomas Burr, SLT 7/14/09
The mayor, appearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, affirmed Congress’ limit of industry pollution was a good start, adding the nation needs to cut consumer vehicle exhaust as well. Becker advocated for a comprehensive approach, accomplished at all levels of government and reviewing all sectors of the economy. The transportation sector is noticeably missing from the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed recently by the House, Becker said. Becker added that from his own experience people with more transit alternatives would choose them over driving. Walkability he said is favored over traffic congestion. Stemming from previous environmental planning business experiences, Becker suggested investing in more mass transit, encouraging smarter land-use planning and boosting alternative transportation—bike paths and carpooling for example. Republicans fear limiting vehicle emissions will burden Americans already impacted by the economic recession. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said “Our goal should be to do what we can to keep red, white and blue jobs that we have now and then move on to green jobs.” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said raising the gas tax in an effort to reduce fuel consumption was off the table. Former Mayor Rocky Anderson testified on climate change during the last congressional session.
Statistical Summary from the Testimony
29% of US greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation, one of the fastest growing sources
60% of transportation emissions are from passenger cars and light duty trucks
Households with access to mass transit drive an average of 4,440 fewer annual miles
5,000 trucking companies have failed and thousands of independent operators have lost their jobs due to gas price fluctuations
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said a cap and trade system will make gas more costly and increase dependency on foreign oil
S.L. Council approves car sharing—Rosemary Winters, SLT 7/14/09
The Salt Lake City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday that will allow U Car Share to bring vehicle sharing to Salt Lake City. The program has parallels in Portland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and will allow users to rent cars as needed for as little as an hour. City code had to be amended to allow the Phoenix-based U-Haul subsidiary to park its cars in public slots. Within the next 3 months, 12-20 cars are expected to be parked for use in the city with four more at the University of Utah and Utah Transit Authority train stops. A one-time $50 membership fee will allow vehicle rentals on average between $8-$12 per hour, including gas and insurance.
Depleted uranium stays on agenda—Judy Fahys, SLT 7/14/09
The Utah Radiation Control Board has postponed a decision on whether to impose a moratorium on depleted uranium until discussing the issue with federal regulators. The delay could last two months. At issue is whether EnergySolutions Inc., which has so far buried 50,000 tons of depleted uranium at its Tooele facility, will be allowed to take more of the 1.4 million tons in government stockpiles and from enrichment being readied for removal. Federal regulators once again confirmed that depleted uranium could be safely interred with other least-hazardous radioactive materials. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission may however require more stringent safety requirements for large quantities. Regulation development is expected to take years. Depleted uranium becomes more hazardous over time, a hazard that doesn’t peak for 1 million years, according to the NRC.
Following HEAL Utah’s lead, Former Utah Radiation Control Board chairman and Brigham Young University geologist Stephen Nelson said allowing depleted uranium at a shallow disposal site was “patently absurd”. Nelson called for a deep geological repository that would protect from for instance another rise in Lake Bonneville, which covered the EnergySolutions site under 200 feet of water 12,000 years ago. Nelson noted most of the waste at the Tooele site has a 100-year hazard period. EnergySolutions spokesmen countered that current depleted uranium is buried safely and a moratorium would only prevent Department of Energy cleanups across the nation. Their offer was to change EnergySolutions’ Utah radiation license to require deeper burial of depleted uranium with a thicker protective cover. They said this would go beyond what they expect the NRC will require, adding that only 50,000 tons would be available for burial in the next 5 years, 10,000 tons of which is being pursued by EnergySolutions.
The NRC’s public roundtable on depleted uranium in Salt Lake City will be September 23-24.
Utah buildings deemed eco-friendly, energy-efficient—Steven Oberbeck, SLT 7/13/09
Seven buildings have been cited for national recognition, including the Mark Miller Toyota-Scion dealership, which recently received its Gold LEED certification from the US Green Building Council. Mark Miller said it was a goal from the beginning to achieve Gold LEED certification, but had he known about the direction of the economy and the automobile business, he might have thought differently, estimating additional costs increased pricing by 10%. Miller’s auto dealership makes the fifth Gold LEED certified building in the state, with two other buildings that have gone beyond Gold to achieve the Platinum standard. Standards incorporate both the energy performance and efficiency of the building as well as its use. Due to frequent running automobiles at an auto dealership, creating additional energy footprint and air quality issues, Platinum certification seems unlikely to Miller. Miller’s building boasts a cistern system to collect rainwater used to wash cars [a feature that required special permit to circumvent state laws preventing water catchment—ESR editor].
Platinum Level Buildings
Daybreak Corporate Center, South Jordan
Swaner EcoCenter, Park City (pending)
Gold Level Buildings
Mark Miller Toyota-Scion, Salt Lake City
Big-D Construction headquarters, Salt Lake City
CCI Training and Conference Facility, Salt Lake City
Escalante Science Center, Escalante
Salt Palace Expansion Phase III, Salt Lake City
EPA wants mining industry to pay for cleanup—Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News, 7/13/09
The EPA’s proposed bonding rule would go into effect by 2011. The action was spawned by $2.6 billion in cleanup costs shelled out by the federal government over a nine-year period. Gold, copper, lead and other metal mining operations would be targeted. The agency argued that mining operations have polluted 3,400 miles of streams and 440,000 acres of land, adding that mining facilities generate 1-2 billion tons of waste annually, with large-scale operations often contaminating ground- and surface water and compromise wildlife, vegetation, soils and wetlands. EPA said enormous costs are associated with actions necessary to protect public health and the environment. Toxins include arsenic, cyanide and mercury.
Remediation of sites has historically been complicated by a pattern of failed operations that result in the taxpayer picking up the tab, O’Donoghue said. A Moab mining operation that bankrupted in the mid-1980s left a cleanup decades later in the hands of the federal government to the tune of $1 billion to remove the 16 million tons of radiation contaminated tailings. Multiple examples exist, including a $192 million cleanup for a Colorado mine that went bust in 1992. Six of the top 10 mining-claim owners in the country are multinational corporations with headquarters elsewhere, further complicating cleanup enforcement.
The EPA’s proposed rule follows a February federal court ruling that directed the EPA to identify industries that can use a legal loophole to avoid financial responsibility for environmental cleanup costs. The court ruling was prompted by a suit brought by the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations. Previously, the EPA has not had the resources to require a financial guarantee up front. A 2005 Government Accountability Office report found that as of 2004, 167 hardrock mining operations worked in Utah, and 50-74% operated without financial assurance. 24 percent of the 49 larger operations in Utah lacked bonds or other financial guarantee for cleanup costs.
Controlling invasive, wily coyotes is still complicated—Mike Stark, AP, SLT 7/13/09
Almost 90,000 coyotes are trapped, shot or poisoned by government agents each year due to livestock killing, urban and suburban prowling and other problems. Researchers in Utah and elsewhere have explored methods that would repel or otherwise deter coyotes rather than kill them: startling noises, wolf urine electric fencing. But coyotes are fast learners, according to an expert at the nation’s only large-scale coyote research center near Utah State University. they share information with others and overcome fears quickly when decoys are used. Fierce individualism deters blanket solutions. The non-lethal approach has been picked up by the federal government’s livestock protection program, though kill programs will not be eliminated anytime soon. Rather, experts acknowledge the importance of predators on the landscape and are targeting the animals primarily causing damage.
While their importance to ecosystem balance has been recognized, coyotes are the top culprit in predator-caused deaths, still far from the leading cause of death among sheep and cattle. 135,000 sheep valued at over $10 million were killed by coyotes in 2004, and 97,000 estimated to be worth $44 million in 2005. 11,000 were killed in 2008 by Wildlife Services with M-44s, which use sodium cyanide pellets, though conservation groups and the EPA are petitioning to have it banned. Wolf urine has been found to be somewhat reliable in a Chicago study. Noise and foot traffic may also be effective. City coyote behavior is less familiar, becoming prevalent in most metropolitan areas only since the late 1980’s. A Utah expert says coyotes, however, just aren’t predictable, and a number of alternatives rotating frequently is likely to be part of the equation for landowners and wildlife managers.
BLM Colorado office will hold agency’s first online lease sale—Oil and Gas Journal, 7/14/09
The first ever online oil and gas lease sale is a pilot project specified in the DOI’s 2008 budget to determine if the process is feasible. The sale will run from Sept. 9-17 at www.blm.gov/leasingpilot . 38 parcels totaling 28,489 acres will be sold. Two groups will be offered for seven days apiece staggered over two days. The process, typical of other online auctions, will allow bidders to submit set bids as well as proxy bids that increase a set amount selected by the bidder. Bidders will be required to register online, offering credit card information and sworn statement of intention to buy. The BLM said there would be no charge for filing protests, which must be offered in writing and delivered by hand, mail or fax. The BLM has no current provision for filing protests online or by e-mail.
Are the deserts getting greener?—Ayisha Yahya, BBC World Service 7/16/09
The Sahara has suggested to climate warming scientists an alternative to the prediction that all deserts will get hotter and drier. While the evidence is limited and decades of data may yet be necessary to confirm speculation, the possibility is being considered that the Sahara could shrink. Satellite images do show some greening, especially in the south Sahara, though droughts over the preceding decades have run nomadic people and farmers into towns and cities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently said rising global temps could cut West African agricultural production by as much as 50% between now and 2020. Vegetation recovery seems to be occurring in the far south Sahara near the Sahel Belt, a semi-arid tropical savannah south of the desert that has been damaged by deforestation, poor land management and soil erosion.
Data from Namibia offers additional fuel for the new hypothesis. As a “hyper-arid” desert, the region has averaged 12 millimeters of rainfall per year. Last year the local research center measured 80 mm of rain, and the last decade has shown record high floods as well as temperatures, though not enough data exists to confirm whether the changes are due to global climate change or a natural cycle. While the mean annual evaporation in the Namibian desert is several hundred times higher than actual rainfall, and three years ago marked the hottest day on record, 47 degrees Celsius [nearly 117 degrees Fahrenheit—ESR Editor], a wetter trend has been noted. Higher levels of CO2 have been noted as well, which could not have been generated anywhere near the Namibian desert.
Egypt has made its own uses of satellite imaging. As Egypt’s population expands, it has used remote sensing data to identify desert aquifers, which are being tapped by farmers for commercial orange, lime and mango production. 3.4 million acres of desert are slated for reclamation.
Industry chiefs call for sectoral approach to climate change—EurActiv.com
The first United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks were held in Bonn, Switzerland (March 29-April 8) and initiated negotiations for a draft agreement ahead of the final conference in Copenhagen at the end of this year. The intent is to replace the Kyoto Protocol, expiring in 2012. The negotiating text prepared for the second round of talks held in late June showed the divide between rich and poor countries. Developing nations seek sizeable CO2 reductions from industrialized nations and financial aid for reductions in poor nations.
Industrialized nations have not committed to funding, and the EU is the only region to set a concrete CO2 reduction target, though it fails to meet the target called for by the developing world. Amendments have bloated the negotiating text to hundreds of pages, while financing for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to global warming continues to lack concrete support. Meanwhile the Major Economies Forum, coinciding with the G8 summit in early July and comprising the 17 countries responsible for 75% of global emissions, agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, about 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), an influential group of CEOs, said in a paper published this week that a fair international climate regime should include sector-based agreements. The agreements would offer binding targets for emissions cuts in developing countries. The paper says the EU can upgrade 2020 objectives from 20% to 30% CO2 emissions reductions only if obligations are spread evenly across the globe, avoiding competitive distortions.
Jeroen van der Veer, former Shell CEO and chair of ERT’s Energy and Climate Change Working Group, said such an international framework would ensure a minimal gap between economies leading implementation of limits and those economies still building the ability to manage emissions. This would allow the EU to continue competing in the global market, van der Veer added. Other industry heads of the ERT come from national companies such as E.ON, GDF Suez, Siemens, Nokia, BT and Fiat.
The ERT favors a global cap and trade market for global emissions cuts. Industrialized countries would be held to binding emissions cuts while their cap and trade systems would be linked to finance clean energy technology in developing countries. One advantage, the paper said, was that a widespread market would set CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions prices, delivering reductions at the lowest cost to the global economy.
By restructuring the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which currently allows industrialized countries to earn offset credits by financing mitigation efforts in the developing world, large scale projects, especially in the electricity sector, could be driven by carbon pricing. Low cost measures such as energy efficiency would be financed mainly by the developing countries themselves. At the same time advanced developing countries would be expected to limit absolute emission through national actions, and beyond that commit to global emissions reductions.
Sectoral agreements with industrialized nations would target specific sectors like cement or steel, channeling funding and capacity. “Each agreement should include the eventual implementation of a long-term binding target for the sector or sectors in question,” the ERT argues, adding that the approach could be extended to sectors such as deforestation and reforestation. A similar concept has been conceptualized under the UN’s REDD mechanism [Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, a reward system for keeping forests intact—ESR editor] a likely feature of the upcoming Copenhagen negotiations.
By involving at least 80% of world production of products in each particular sector leading to CO2 reductions similar to current EU commitments, the need for protection would be reduced for EU sectors that have the price of carbon added to their costs. Carbon capture and storage too could be internationally certified, offering a form of paper currency for each ton of carbon buried underground.
Aug 10-14: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting, Bonn
Sept 28-Oct 9: UNFCCC summit in Bangkok
Nov 2-6: UNFCCC meeting
Dec 7-18: UN climate change conference in Copenhagen
REDD: An introduction—REDDMonitor.org
ESR Editor’s Note—ReddMonitor.org’s “About” page says its website emerged from NGO networks in Europe and the southern hemisphere, concerned over the developing “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries” policies that began to be a part of climate change discussions at the 11th session of the Conference of Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 11) in 2005. REDD stands for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. REDDMonitor.org is run by Chris Lang and seeks to continue asking critical questions about the developing REDD program.
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) was originally conceived as a plan for making payments to discourage deforestation and forest degradation in the southern hemisphere. REDD programs were discussed ahead of the Kyoto Protocol, but rejected. The Coalition of Rainforest Nations developed REDD after 2005. COP 13, meeting two years later and tied to the UNFCCC, furthered the proposal, which is expected to be agreed upon at COP 15 in Copenhagen. The Bali Action Plan would tie emissions reductions to conservation and sustainable management of forests and forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
Concerns over the plan include the costs of conservation in terms of loss of rights and evictions of indigenous peoples and local communities. Sustainable management of forests could include subsidies to commercial logging operations in old growth forests, indigenous territories or villagers’ community forests. Enhancement of carbon stocks could result in conversion of land to industrial tree plantations, affecting biodiversity, forests and local communities.
REDDMonitor.org is calling for the UN to affirm international human rights instruments in REDD, including the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the concept of Free Prior Informed Consent. COP 14 negotiations saw the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia opposing any reference to Indigenous People’s rights in the negotiating text, weakening the draft text.
Funding considerations for REDD currently proposed include carbon trading as well as a separate fund. Proponents say a market based approach would be sufficient to replace the market forces driving deforestation in favor of domestic agriculture in rainforest regions. REDD credits would be available for developed country emissions reductions, and the monies generated by their sale would incentivize forest protection. Inherent in the cap and trade option is the ability to delay or defer action by developed countries and industries on emissions reductions. Pollution continues to be produced at current or greater amounts. No protections are currently in place to ensure that carbon storage forests would be permanently protected, or forests elsewhere contributing to carbon sequestration would not be cut down. Effectively, REDD creates the world’s biggest loophole, effectively allowing industry to continue polluting. Additionally, REDDMonitor.org notes that currently the UN defines a forest and a plantation as the same thing.
In 2004, the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Business was described by then Senior Manager Ken Newcombe as “reducing risk for private investors”. Newcombe has since left the World Bank and set up his own carbon trading company, C-Quest Capital. The World Bank is currently sponsoring a program (the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility) where countries produce Readiness Plan Idea Notes. These provide the framework for REDD, and 25 countries have already submitted notes. Numerous other forest investment programs have been developed under assorted umbrellas of the World Bank and the United Nations. Many countries have already invested in REDD activities throughout the globe.
Private sector projects are also in swing, including ones supported by The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, WWF US, Environmental Defense Fund, Woods Hole Research Center, CIFOR, Winrock International, and Wildlife Conservation Society. The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project in Bolivia in 1997 includes corporate partners American Electric Power, Pacificorp, and BP Amoco. The Juma Sustainable Development Reserve in Brazil includes corporate partner Marriott Hotels.
Standards organizations are also a part of the initiative, including sustainability certifiers Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance.
Primary concerns over REDD developments include the failure to recognize Indigenous People’s rights in the UNFCCC, failure to consult with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, the UN definition of forests which does not differentiate between forest and plantation—meaning diverse forests could be replaced by monoculture and still qualify, the risk of corruption, the risk of increased deforestation ahead of firm REDD agreements in Copenhagen later this year, the loophole that carbon trading offers to polluters, the lack of aggressive redress of climate change that carbon forest trade offers.
G8 leaders pledge €14 billion for food security—EurActiv.com with Reuters, 7/10/09
Leaders of the G8 industrialized nations agreed to commit around $20 billion over three years to helping the world’s poorest countries’ agricultural sectors. Short, medium and long term agriculture development will be a part of the investment. The written declaration did not make clear whether the amount was new funds, and did not detail individual countries’ investments. While a World Bank trust fund was proposed by the US, opposed by the EU, no mention of it was found in the final declaration. The declaration identified major contributions to increased poverty and hunger in developing countries, citing underinvestment in agriculture, price volatility and the economic crisis. The UN reports that the number of malnourished people has risen in the past two years and is expected to top 1.02 billion by the end of 2009, reversing a decades long declining trend. The declaration reflects a US-led move toward long term strategies fighting hunger. The US is the world’s largest aid donor of food.
The G8 approach will target increased productivity, harvest intervention stimulus, private-sector growth, women and small farmers, preserve natural resources, prioritize job expansion training and trade. The G8 disbursed about $13.4 billion between January 2008 and July 2009 according to its own sources. Critics including anti-poverty group ONE have charged the G8 has failed to keep previous promises of aid, including a promise to double aid to Africa made in 2005. ONE says sub-Saharan Africa alone needs $25 billion over the next three years. ONE has called for investments in seed, fertilizer, roads and infrastructure.
Birds’ survival relies on world’s largest crab orgy—Louisa Jones, NPR 7/12/09
Mating season for horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay, the largest gathering in the world, brings millions of crabs and tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds that feed on crab eggs on their way to the Arctic. The site is also host to ornithologists who track tagged birds from as far away as Tierra Del Fuego, the southern tip of South America. The red knot, chestnut-colored and similar in size to a robin, winters in Argentina and breeds 10,000 miles north in the Arctic. Delaware is an important feeding site for the red knot, coinciding with the horseshoe crab spawning.
The pearlish-green crab eggs, the size of caviar, are laid by the billions, and those that don’t hatch and are not eaten can dry or wash out with the tide. The feeding in Delaware Bay stores sufficient fat reserves for the final portion of the journey to the Arctic for red knots. “They eat so greedily that stretches of sand can be completely hidden by their red breasts and little pecking heads,” Jones said. Nigel Clark, a volunteer with the British Trust for Ornithology, described the birds before feeding as “literally skin and bone…Very thin and sleek birds running around with extremely large legs, it seems.” Clark says by the time they leave they look like little balls. “They have short legs because they are carrying so much fat on their breast, and they almost waddle,” he added.
The birds have an acutely synchronized existence, getting fed in time to reach the Arctic just as the snow melts. Laying their clutch quickly, the chicks hatch just in time to meet with hatching insects, just two short months in the summer, Nigel’s wife Jacquie Clark, also a volunteer, recounted. Nigel Clark says that the population has crashed since the 1990’s, and the red knot is currently a candidate under the Endangered Species Act. Two possibilities include climate change shifting ground thaw timing in the Arctic, and a lack of sufficient horseshoe crab eggs for fattening. The volunteers are surveying whether the red knot is getting enough to eat. Nigel Clark adds; “There is nowhere else in the world where a population of birds is so dependent on such a small area. If they don’t have Delaware Bay, they won’t get to the Arctic, they won’t breed, and the population will die out.” Current surveys suggest this will be a good year, but a string of good years are necessary for the birds’ recovery.
Garland firm snags $198k energy-conservation grant—SLT 7/15/09
The $198,500 grant awarded to Hansen Energy and Environmental is part of $18 million plus awarded in Conservation Innovation Grants for 55 projects nationally developing cutting-edge technologies helping ranchers and farmers conserve natural resources. The Utah research firm will demonstrate an economical method for converting methane from farm waste products to a liquid fuel.
Animal advocacy brouhaha: Cheyenne rodeo snaps new photo/video policy—Bob Moen, AP, SLT 7/15/09
The Cheyenne rodeo known as the “Daddy of ‘em all” tried to ban all types of video cameras in an attempt to prevent animal rights groups from posting video on the Web of alleged animal mistreatment at the event, but fans of the rodeo at the 113 year old Cheyenne Frontier Days quickly complained. Private use is now allowed, while all commercial, issue advocacy or fundraising use, without the rodeo’s permission, is banned. The animal rights group SHARK—Showing Animals Respect and Kindness—has said the policy is intended to prevent images that demonstrate animal cruelty at the rodeo. A rodeo spokesman said that because SHARK’s website asked for donations, it might be subject to a lawsuit under its new policy, arguing that the new policy was simply protecting copyright and brand rights. While SHARK may be caught in the fray, the rodeo’s spokesman said other problems had occurred with photographers shooting the event for profit, and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association owns the rights to all commercial video footage of PRCA events shot in the arena. Other rodeos, including the Greeley Stampede in northeast Colorado, had instituted similar policies.
2 more bear killings in Utah bring total to 5 this summer—Brett Prettyman, SLT 7/15/09
Two previously unreported cases, one in Uintah county at a campsite and the other involving a rancher who claimed a bear was killing his calves on his property in Garfield County, have been added to the three previously reported cases this month. No bears were shot at all in 2008. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) experts are perplexed. Mike Fowlks, chief of law enforcement for the DWR said ranchers have the right and authority by statute to protect their livestock from predators posing a risk. One theory is that while plenty of food is available this summer, young bears could be searching for their own territory. Officials have reiterated that if a bear is sighted, people should after reaching safety be calling 911, the wildlife hotline (1-800-662-DEER), the local sheriff’s office or the local DWR office, noting that a bear doesn’t always have to be shot. Black bears tend to be discouraged by throwing rocks, yelling and waving your arms and other forms of counter-attack, Prettyman said. If you encounter a grizzly, he added, lay face down and play dead with your arms covering your neck.
Wildfire near Panguitch tops 2,900 acres, 35 percent contained—AP, SLT 7/14/09
The fire is burning mostly conifers and aspens. Strong winds and thunderstorms have made firefighting difficult. Spot fires ignited by embers carried on winds have also been a problem. 280 people were working on the fire, ignited by lightning July 2, as of Monday
Utah may land $2.6M for energy-efficient-appliance rebates—SLT 7/14/09
The Energy Department announced Utah’s eligibility for a state-run rebate program Tuesday. The state must apply for the stimulus package funds, which will partially reimburse consumers purchasing qualified appliances with an Energy Star rating. Energy Director Steven Chu said the funds would go to energy efficiency and the transition to more efficient appliances while directly stimulating the economy and creating jobs through consumer demand. Funds could become available to Utah between August and November.
Utah camper kills another bear—Tom Wharton, SLT 7/14/09
The camper shot the bear at the Barker Reservoir campground early Sunday east of Boulder Mountain. The bear was the third one killed this month by a shooter asserting the bear was a threat, one in Balsam Campground in Hobble Creek Canyon east of Springville and the other near cabins in the South Fork of Provo Canyon. A Utah Division of Wildlife (DWR) spokesman and biologist said the frequent shootings are unusual. Experts have expected that due to the wet year, plentiful food would keep bears away from humans. Bear incidents and sitings have been average for the year. The latest killing involved a yearling little larger than a German shepherd. Another DWR spokesman said the bear had been sighted repeatedly two days before the shooting, and when the shooter tried to run the bear off, the bear went a short distance then turned around, appearing to the shooter as if it would not retreat. The report was turned over to the Garfield County attorney, who will decide whether the killing was justified or charges will be pressed. Anyone feeling threatened by a predator is encouraged to call 911, who can connect with DWR at any time.
Truck rolls, spills asphalt into southern Utah creek—Steve Gehrke, SLT 7/14/09
The asphalt oil spill occurred about 50 miles east of Cedar City on Highway 89. Hazardous material crews began cleaning the oil from the site after 9 a.m. and finished Tuesday night. No comment had been made Tuesday on whether the contamination would pose health risks. The driver suffered minor injuries.