There’s no doubt that Terry Diehl knows a good deal when he sees one. The question is whether the people he’s dealing with know that. Diehl is the good ol’ boy developer who apparently used his position on the Utah Transit Authority Board for personal benefit. He was forced off the board and now is being sued by a Japanese investor who bought interest in two land-development companies. What with all the shuffling of millions of dollars, Diehl neglected to tell the man he was putting money in a California retirement account. Finally, the UTA board decided to respond to a legislative audit and create some ethics rules—laughable as they may be. The rules allow board members to benefit from insider info or to do business with companies working with UTA. So long as you disclose that you’re on the take, it’s OK by the board.
As the Salt Lake Valley basks in a thickening inversion, there’s no dearth of environmental red flags. But how come it took a California representative to defend the lung health of Utahns who would be impacted by a dust bill just passed by the U.S. House? The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act is supposed to exempt “rural” dust from onerous regulations. But Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., suspects that Kennecott Utah Copper was heavily lobbying because its dust would fly under the radar. By not limiting the bill to agriculture, the bill could limit the EPA’s ability to protect the public from dust pollution, since Kennecott’s the biggest particulate producer in the state. Rep. Jim Matheson doesn’t think it’s a problem, but Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment are preparing a lawsuit to get Kennecott to comply with federal regs.
The Salt Lake Valley Health Department is serious about its Sustainable Restaurant Initiative. The department is highlighting businesses that recycle wastes like cooking oil, that compost scraps and even buy food locally. Of course, there are other green acts that make a difference: shutting off computers and recycling printer paper, for instance. While the department focuses on county-owned facilities, it looks like private businesses are out in front of the effort. Pago, for instance, builds its menu around what it can buy locally. Squatters, a favorite local watering hole, does stuff like use biodiesel made from kitchen oil. It’s all good, and eventually may move into certification from the U.S. nonprofit Green Restaurant Association, which so far has certified only Sweet Tomatoes in Utah.