The Liquor Maze
The end of private clubs never happened. Sure, memberships are not required to get a drink, but bars still are technically private clubs because of the puzzle of mind-boggling liquor regulations in Utah code. That could end early in the next legislative session, when a massive overhaul of the code likely will happen. A lot of redundant (and at times, contradictory) laws will be condensed primarily into one section. Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who is leading the effort and discussing it this week in a legislative committee, said there are about a dozen items that could be addressed once the new codes are in place, including rules for liquor licenses and serving heavy beer on tap.
Energy Gone Wild
A new report released by Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development highlights Western areas threatened by energy development, including the Book Cliffs and Uinta National Forest in Utah. The biggest problems, the report says, is that “oil and gas drilling pays little regard to fish, wildlife and water resources.” Considering this is a report put together by hunting and fishing organizations that support energy development, it will be tougher for politicians to dismiss the findings as radical environmentalism.
Kickbacks Kicked Back
EnergySolutions, the Tooele waste firm that is not shy with its political contributions, approached Utah officials earlier this year with a simple proposition: If the firm could be allowed to accept foreign nuclear waste, the state would receive as much as $3 billion. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. flatly refused the offer. Now, EnergySolutions has made the same offer, this time to Gov. Gary Herbert. The attraction now is that the state is currently losing a court fight and could see the waste allowed in without a dime going to the state. With the Legislature staring at a tight budget year, such an offer would be very tempting, especially if it would help them avoid tax increases in an election year. But thankfully, Herbert’s spokeswoman Angie Welling said the governor remains committed to opposing foreign waste. Additionally, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, sent a letter to Herbert last week, urging him to reject the offer. No matter the outcome of EnergySolutions’ court battle, at least Utah’s political leaders do not consider the storage of foreign nuclear waste in Tooele County a foregone conclusion.