The Latest Bounce

 

Utah's Skull Valley nuclear storage site is moving forward (HCN, 11/19/01: Nuclear storage site splinters Goshutes). In early January, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a final environmental impact statement that moves the project one step closer to reality. The NRC will hold hearings in April, the same month that a federal judge will hear a lawsuit challenging Utah's anti-dump laws.

In December, Wyoming's Game and Fish Commission voted to bail out of a black-tailed prairie dog management plan (HCN, 8/16/99: Standing up for the underdog). Wyoming was originally part of an 11-state effort to draw up a recovery plan before the federal Fish and Wildlife Service intervenes to list the species as endangered.

The lynx hair fracas continues. After Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., and House Resources Chairman Jim Hansen, R-Utah, called for the firing of the biologists involved, the Forest Service stood behind its scientists, saying that they did not intentionally act to skew the survey (HCN, 1/21/02: Will listing hurt the Colorado lynx?). D.C.-based watchdog Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says that McInnis and Hansen have violated the Hatch Act, which gives public servants protection from political retaliation.

The Southwest has become a hot spot for new power-plant development; now Arizona is eyeing Mexico as a potential customer for its power (HCN, 1/29/01: Power on the loose). Gov. Jane Hull and several energy executives are scheduled to meet with Mexican president Vicente Fox and his energy secretary as this issue goes to press. Last year, two utilities announced plans to run electrical transmission lines from Arizona to Mexico.

On Jan. 16, the town council of La Verkin, Utah, repealed the town's "United Nations Free Zone" ordinance by a vote of 4-1 (HCN, 8/27/01: Utah town goes 'U.N. free'). The ordinance was passed last July 4, but in November, La Verkinites elected three new council members who said they'd repeal it. Just before the January vote, council member Gary McKell told the Deseret News, "I just want to move forward and work on other issues facing our city."