Prepare for the Future, Solar Flare and A Good Man? | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Prepare for the Future, Solar Flare and A Good Man? 

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Prepare for the Future
"Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today," goes a famous and oft-misquoted Malcolm X saying. There's an immediacy to that. Just ask the coal industry. If you read the Deseret News or watch KSL, things don't look good for coal, despite at least one man's chutzpah in opening a new coal mine in Emery County. Yes, there's the Trump administration's message that it's all good. And then there's the reality that Utah coal production in 2015 was about half of what it was in 2001. Fracking, cheap natural gas and clean-air campaigns—not to mention lawsuits—are pushing alternative energy. You can talk about the rest of the world, but even China is focusing on the air. The state has a long and unhealthy history with bad air. According to a Utah Political Capitol story, farmers didn't like it back in the 1860s when nothing could be done. Now it can. It's time to prepare.


Solar Flare
Despite the governmental pushback, alternative energy in Utah is a growing concern—concern because of Rocky Mountain Power's continued attempts to sideline the industry. A KUER report notes that the number of rooftop solar panels doubles every year. The Provo-Orem area is now in the nation's top 25 list of solar-industry job creators. The Solar Foundation says last year, Utah had 4,408 solar-industry jobs—more than 1,700 of them new. Oh, but coal. Utah is one of only a few states that gets more than two-thirds of its energy from coal, a KSL report says. And influential lobbyists like those from the Utah Mining Association forewarn of doom if the coal industry dies. And yet, the air is the real killer.


A Good Man?
You might have heard this before: "He is a good man." It's a byproduct of the Utah culture, which emphasizes forgiveness sometimes at the cost of truth. This is the story of Fourth District Judge Thomas Low, who somehow thought it appropriate to praise a former LDS bishop convicted of sex abuse. The offender's brother even compared him to Jesus. Low, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, became emotional both as he addressed the assailant and the victim, although his words had the effect of casting the assailant as a victim himself. Last year, only one of 90 judges faced voters with a bad recommendation, and most judges are retained by a near-80-percent margin. So don't forget Low. Voters can send him packing—if they pay attention.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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