Utah will receive $19.6 million in an annual payout of taxes from the federal government to be used for fish and wildlife conservation projects.The allocated money is part of $1.1 billion in taxes collected on sporting and boating equipment each year.
Mark Hadley from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says many Utahns don’t realize hunters and anglers pay for much of the wildlife conservation efforts in the state.
On Saturday, a collision between a barge and a ship on the Houston Ship Channel resulted in nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil spilling into the water. The difficult to disperse sludge had reached 12 miles off the Gulf of Mexico by Sunday.
Media reports that now is the peak of the shorebird migration season, and that 10 oiled birds had been found and sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center as of Sunday afternoon.
Dr. Joseph Tainter, a professor of environment and society at Utah State University, calls the spill a reminder of the price of society's dependence on oil.
The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, is campaigning to have more rural Americans sign up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act before the enrollment deadline ends on Monday, March 31st. Vilsack says changes to health insurance coverage helps protect rural Americans who may have lost their insurance before the ACA was implemented.
“It is a population in which farmers and ranchers are exposed to the dangers of farming with all of the equipment that they have to deal with,” Vilsack said. “They could be faced with some serious illnesses or injuries that could result, in the past, in losing their coverage.”
Two BASE jumpers were killed over the weekend in separate incidents in Zion National Park and Mineral Canyon, west of Moab. These mark the second and third BASE related deaths in the last two months in Utah.
BASE, or “Building, Antenna, Span, Earth” jumping evolved out of sky diving in the late 1970s. The sport only started to gain a more mainstream following 15 years ago, as more legal areas to jump were discovered and advances to BASE gear made jumps less risky.
Tom Aiello is the chief BASE instructor at Snake River BASE Academy, he says the increased number of fatalities is to be expected.
“As the number of participants increases, the total number of incidents will increase, even if the incident rate itself—the incidents per jump—is decreasing. Although from the outside you may look at it and say it seems like incidents have climbed a lot, incidents per participant haven’t actually and in fact may have decreased in the last 10 years,” Aiello said.
Registered Republicans gathered at Mount Logan Middle School in Logan on Thursday night to organize their precincts.
One of the things attendees of the caucus discussed was the Count My Vote initiative which would have gotten rid of the caucus system in Utah completely. Though the issue was resolved by Gov. Gary Herbert on March 10, many in attendance didn’t realize this was the case.
Darla Yeates, precinct chair, said the attempts from Count My Vote to eliminate the caucus system were unsettling.
A controversial oil and gas field along the approach to Dead Horse Point and Island in the Sky is getting more controversial. On Wednesday, about 30 protestors assembled with signs at the Moab’s BLM parking lot.
“We don’t want their oil and gas revenue money. And the only way we’re going to stop them is to continue that pressure is to be as vocal as we possibly can to anyone who is willing to listen,” one protestor said.
“And to go forth to the city council and the BLM and say wait a minute, what the hell’s going on?” another protestor said.
As UPR listeners who enjoy bacon or ham may have already noticed, the price of pork has been rising steadily for the last four weeks. The cause of the increase is a swine virus called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea or PEDv that experts suspect made its way over from Asia in 2013.
Livestock Marketing Information Center Director Jim Rob says the disease began spreading rapidly in pork producing states, including Utah, late 2013.
The virus causes cold-like symptoms in adult pigs but can be deadly for piglets.