Hits & Misses: Liquor Drought 

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Liquor Drought

If you own a restaurant and want a license from Utah to serve wine and beer, your chances are worse than winning the lottery. There is one license available. Utah gives out a limited number of licenses to serve, and the quota is all used up. The lines of disappointed restaurant owners standing outside Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control door should be enough to let state lawmakers know that the current quota—one license for every 11,000 residents—isn’t enough. Having the option of serving customers a drink with dinner won’t change the numbers of drinkers, but it can make or break a business—and make or break an economy built on tourism.

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Solar-Powered SLC

Outgoing Mayor Rocky Anderson’s antiglobal-warming rant may have landed his city something after all. Salt Lake City is one of 13 cities in the country to receive a two-year U.S. Energy Department grant to gin up solar power. The goal of the project is to be operating Salt Lake County on as much solar power as coal by 2015. Solar power is still expensive but seems a good fit for Utah which has sunshine 300 days per year but lacks the constant wind in regions attracting big investment from wind-turbine companies. Salt Lake City, which will receive $200,000 in cash and the help of DOE experts through the Solar America Initiative, aims to install 10,000 solar systems in homes and businesses.

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Power Vacuum

For some reason, Utah environmentalists thought the Bush administration losing a Supreme Court fight would be enough to make it finally regulate carbon-dioxide emissions. (Did they forget this presidential cabinet is made up of oilmen?) In April, the Supreme Court said the EPA has the authority to regulate global-warming gases emitted from cars. So Utah enviros were shocked that Bush’s EPA approved an expansion of a coal-fired power plant in Uintah County with no requirement to limit emissions. The approval complicates Utah’s pledge, with five other Western states, to cut greenhouse gasses by 2020. The tiny expansion approved for the existing Uintah County plant will require Utah to up its carbon-monoxide-elimination goal by more than 15 percent.
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