Just as we hear that there won’t be enough Colorado River water to meet demand by 2060, there is some good news on the water front. As for the Colorado, Utah can thumb its nose at its friends and neighbors California, Arizona and Nevada, where there are already shortages. Utah hasn’t used all the water it’s allocated, so it’s OK for a while. But the really good water news comes from the Great Salt Lake, where environmental- advocacy groups and industry have reached a compromise on monitoring the tons of discharge from Great Salt Lake Minerals. GSL kind of did its own internal monitoring before, but now its data will be available for state review. GSL wants to expand, and cooperation might be a key. No matter what, it’s good to know we’re keeping track of water pollutants.
Looks like women in Utah just can’t catch a break. Now we hear that Utah is No. 1 in pay inequality for women. Slate magazine used U.S. Census data to determine that the average working woman here makes 55 cents to every dollar for the average working man. Wyoming, Louisiana, North Dakota and Michigan followed—with more. Some 85,000 Utah families are headed by women, so that’s not good news for them. What to blame? Utah’s patriarchal culture and lagging graduation rates. We’ll have to see if Mormon women wearing pants to church makes a difference. But even with advanced degrees, women nationally still make less than men. Another report, “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” released by the American Association of University Women, is just that discouraging.
OK, everybody can quit calling Utah the nation’s dumping ground. Not that we’re all cleaned up or anything, but at least we’re off the hot seat, so to speak. EnergySolutions has been lobbying to accept hotter radioactive wastes at its site in Clive. Texas-based Waste Control Specialists just opened the first new low-level waste site since 1982, bringing the number of such sites to five. Even then, Utah took some 97 percent of the nation’s low-level radioactive waste over the past 20 years. The new site is a big deal because it can accept A, B and C class waste, and EnergySolutions is only allowed to take A waste. There’s still a lot of bad waste out there, but as Leonard Slosky, of a waste-management group based in Denver, says, “Utah is no longer the sole focus of the waste universe.”