Week in review: February 17

What we’re reading this week.


With so much news breaking these days, we don’t want readers to miss the stories that shape our Western economies, landscape and lives. So every Friday, we share the stories we’re paying attention to, from around the region and the country: the Western week in review. —Kate Schimel, Deputy Editor-Digital

Fisheries under the Trump administration

Federal officials use regulations to open and close fishing seasons, adjust quotas, and otherwise manage fisheries. The Trump administration’s executive order calling for the rollback of two federal regulations for every new regulation passed could make it impossible for the government to manage fish stocks, according to a letter two U.S. representatives sent to the administration early this month. We’re keeping an eye on how the executive order might impact Pacific coast fisheries, in particular. Have a question or an idea? Email editorial intern Emily Benson at [email protected].

Outdoor retailer to leave Utah

After talks between outdoor industry leaders and Utah elected officials broke down, Outdoor Retailer has announced it is leaving the state. The trade show, which has taken place in Salt Lake City for 20 years, has been a major economic boon in the state. In a press release, the Outdoor Industry Association, a trade group, said they asked Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to revoke support for efforts to transfer federal lands to state control and to rollback the Antiquities Act and reverse the Bears Ears monument designation. See our map below for the value recreation brings to each Western state. Read more about the standoff between the sagebrush rebels and the outdoor industry in Utah here.

In her own words

Writer Jenni Monet, who was arrested while covering the protests at Standing Rock and charged with criminal trespass and engaging in a riot, writes: “I could walk away and allow my charges to play out in court. I could sit back and let police lie to local media about how I never presented my press credentials when asked when, in fact, I did. And I could just keep it to myself that white women I was jailed with told me they were not strip-searched upon being booked, but that Native American women like me were. But silence helps no one where inequality exists. That’s why I stayed at Standing Rock when the live trucks left. And that’s why I’ll continue to report on one of the greatest indigenous struggles in modern times.” – Columbia Journalism Review

Endangered Species Act in danger

The Washington Post reports that a Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” “unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs.” House Republicans have promised to pick up the fight too. For background, read our story from December on Utah Rep. Rob Bishop’s promise to kill the four-decade-old Act.

The afterlife of the blob

Last year, a “blob” of warm water off the Pacific coast caused toxic algae blooms, disrupted prey supplies, contributing to the starvation of animals like sea lions and humpback whales. It also disrupted weather on land; new research indicates it increased ozone levels along the coast and even as far inland as Utah. “Temperatures were high, and it was much less cloudy than normal, both of which trigger ozone production,” Dan Jaffe, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington Bothell and lead author of the study, told Science Daily. “And because of that high-pressure system off the coast, the winds were much lower than normal. Winds blow pollution away, but when they don't blow, you get stagnation and the pollution is higher.” More: ‘The blob’ of abnormal conditions boosted Western US ozone levels.

Chaffetz drama continues

It’s been a rocky new year for Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah: first, he introduced a bill earlier this year to “dispose” of “excess” public lands, identified in the 1990s by the Bureau of Land Management. After overwhelming negative response, he sent a letter to withdraw it. But he still faced down angry crowds at a townhall meeting. Now, it seems the bill he promised to kill is not dead quite yet. It was assigned to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands earlier this month, where it’s up to the chair and committee members to move it forward or not. We’ll be keeping an eye on it and other bills aimed at radically overhauling and curtailing federal land management. Follow along.

The West’s ugly internment history

From Managing Editor Brian Calvert: I’ve been looking at these photographs from Dorothea Lange, who documented the Japanese internment of the 1940s, and thinking on whether we as a nation have learned anything from history. I hope so, but perhaps not as much as we should have. Consider this, from the exhibit, in the LA Times, 1942: “A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched—so a Japanese-American, born of Japanese parents—grows up to be a Japanese, not an American.”

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