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Wednesday PM headlines: Utah sued for 'failing' Great Salt Lake, drive-thru ban

Photo of the Great Salt Lake
Charles Uibel
Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Utah sued by conservation groups for 'failing' the Great Salt Lake

Several conservation and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the state of Utah on Wednesday for allegedly “failing” the Great Salt Lake.

The lawsuit, filed jointly by Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, American Bird Conservancy, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Utah Rivers Council, alleges the state doesn’t ensure enough water reaches the Great Salt Lake.

They allege this, in turn, violates the public trust doctrine, which puts natural resources into the trust of the state with the understanding that those resources will be preserved for the public’s use and enjoyment.

The lawsuit is asking Utah to take “sufficient action” to prevent further decline and to be held accountable for keeping the lake at a minimum elevation.

Currently, the Great Salt Lake is below the minimum elevation level, and reached an all-time low last year. Declines in the lake water levels have led to toxic dust in the air and great harm to Utah’s ecosystems.

Netflix co-founder invests $100 million into Powder Mountain

Reed Hastings, co-founder and executive chairman of Netflix, has invested $100 million into Powder Mountain, making him the majority owner.

A portion of that investment will fund the expansion of skiable terrain, create a new nordic and snowshoe trail system and support the progression of all levels, ages and abilities on the mountain.

There will be several years of work to complete those goals, but there will be some improvements by the upcoming winter season, including 500 acres of guided backcountry terrain, a new activity center and upgrades to the terrain and infrastructure used by beginners.

Salt Lake City bans drive-thrus in part of Sugar House

New drive-thru services will no longer be permitted in part of Sugar House after a unanimous decision by Salt Lake City leaders Tuesday night.

The ordinance, approved by the Salt Lake City Council, prohibits new drive-thrus in the business district of Sugar House, a neighborhood in Salt Lake City. Reasons discussed by the council and public comment included reducing traffic jams, making the area safer for pedestrians and reducing the environmental effects of vehicles idling in line.

The ban will apply to any business, including financial institutions and pharmacies. Businesses with existing drive-thrus will be grandfathered in and can continue to offer the same services.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.