What is it about these quasi-public organizations? Well, the lure of public dollars and the freedom to use them without scrutiny has to be a draw. That’s the case for the Utah Clean Air Partnership, which after a year suddenly became a private-public nonprofit basking in conflicts of interest—all for the so-called public good. Enter industry reps and government appointees, all vowing to be open—even if they don’t have to be. So, why the quasi designation? It comes at a time when property taxes are escalating to fund transportation—mass transit and roads. That extra dough may just go into a black hole in the name of clean air, and no one will be the wiser.
T. Boone Pickens has a bone to pick and it’s with the United States. The billionaire businessman thinks the state ought to be able to develop federally owned lands because, he told the Deseret News, “you’re not going to have that much development … for the production of oil and gas,” and you’ll still be able to enjoy the wilderness. Just push on, he says. That’s not exactly what a federal judge is saying, though. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer issued a preliminary injunction blocking a state law that seeks to limit federal enforcement on public lands. At least for the time being, federal officers can catch you for speeding or having an expired fishing license. It’s just one aspect of the federal-versus-state boxing match over management of public lands.
The Deseret News isn’t running out of steam for a cause it feels is driven by God. On June 27, after the Supreme Court ruled on gay rights, both The Salt Lake Tribune and the D-News had banner headlines announcing the outcome. The D-News, however, devoted the entire front page to the issue, asking what happens now in Utah and drawing comment from religious leaders. The Trib added a second story on the heat wave. But on Sunday, the opinion sections were telling. The Trib talked about water management; the D-News called the rulings “needless, thoughtless, damaging,” and columnist Jay Evensen bemoaned what he called being cast as hateful for not supporting gay marriage.
Note: The June 27 Hits & Misses contained a quote from U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop that had appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune.