No Good Deed
Is anybody listening? Or more to the point, is anybody breathing out there? For sure, it’s not our attorney general. Mr. Partisan—Sean Reyes—felt it was more important to join his Republican counterparts in a fight against “environmental activism” in the stock market, rather than on the imminent environmental destruction at home. He wants federal regulators to look at how the investment firm Vanguard did shocking things like pressure utilities to publish climate disclosures, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. While the Great Salt Lake shrinks and inversions threaten the health of Utahns, Reyes worries that Vanguard will “reduce global greenhouse gas emissions through their investments.” But Reyes is not one to worry about Utah, per se. It was also reported that he accepted a fun invitation to the Qatar games, you know, because he advised them on human trafficking.
UDOT is looking less and less like a public agency and more like a friend of business interests. We have already seen how it handled the Cottonwood Canyons gondola issue by taking public comment and then ignoring it. Now it’s paving its way to the Parleys quarry before it has been approved by the state. Oh, and it did so without informing the affected community. “I regret a lot of this,” UDOT regional director Robert Stewart told The Salt Lake Tribune, noting that had it been a UDOT project, “we would go out and canvas the neighborhoods and talk to interested stakeholders and develop a plan with them. When it comes to an encroachment permit, that is not part of the overall process.” It’s unclear who really likes this project because it’s not the neighborhood, the county or Salt Lake City.
Utah’s media outlets have bent over backward as they try to spare the feelings—and the livelihood—of Gov. Spencer Cox. You could tell that The Salt Lake Tribune really didn’t want to say what had to be said: “Alfalfa, for all its benefits, sucks up way too much of the one thing Utah does not have enough of. Water.” Instead, the reluctant Tribune editorial began its argument this way: “It is not that alfalfa is evil.” For years, the governor has been walking a tightrope as he tries to hail the farming industry, acknowledge the environmental problems and not destroy the business from which he prospered. It was only last year that the Trib ran a story about how farms could actually save the Great Salt Lake and the problem was really urban growth. All those things are true. So is the editorial and numerous studies that show the hearty and reliable crop, alfalfa, is just an unreasonable water suck.