A Hazy Dispute
It's not enough that we're spending taxpayer dollars on a quixotic quest to take over public lands in Utah. It's not enough that Utah wants to join a multi-state effort to deprive transgender people bathroom privileges. It's not enough that the state places coal above people. The minute that the EPA announced it would require additional pollution controls on two Utah coal plants, out came the big guns. Rocky Mountain Power is considering legal action to stop the evil feds, and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality is "disappointed," according to the Deseret News. DEQ thinks it's working on "sound science" and all's well. But haze-producing pollution affects not only visibility but health. No doubt, the governor disagrees. He has already joined 27 other states challenging the Clean Power Plan in court.
No one should delight in a lawsuit being filed, but the public should feel vindicated that city officials from Provo and Orem are being punished for their attempts to stymie petition gatherers. The two officials have been using their city email accounts to lobby the public against a transit project, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Haven't they learned anything from Hillary Clinton's email predicament? You know—official vs. unofficial? The Utah County clerk-auditor calls the pushback political, and state law lets residents overturn new city laws if they get enough signatures within 45 days of passage. Citizens don't seem to like a $190 million "bus rapid transit" and road-improvement project, although the officials say their actions are administrative, so citizens have no say. In fact, Utah has long made citizen referendums difficult and rare.
Any time you hear the word "unlimited," beware. Salt Lake County is requesting an unlimited height zoning request from Salt Lake City for a Salt Lake Convention Center hotel. If you think height doesn't matter in an urban downtown setting, think again. Much of the condo-building for a 2020 population boom is happening there, and residents are rightly concerned about being boxed in from sunlight and vistas. Several sites are being considered and for one, Councilman Derek Kitchen seems open to adjusting height limits, according to the Deseret News. He just wants "appearance and continuity with downtown" to be considered. Residents of 99 West are worried about their property values and that the structure might dwarf Abravanel Hall. Maybe this is the risk you take living downtown. On the other hand, light and breathing room are always good.