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Another Hangover

Alcohol, the Legislature, local rights and more water studies

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Another Hangover
Ken Roach wrote a letter to The Salt Lake Tribune wondering out loud about Republican hypocrisy. It was about the lack of will over gun legislation, but he talked about how he gets that the GOP wants to protect him from himself in matters of alcohol, driving, drugs, porn and Teslas. Back to alcohol, though, the Deseret News wrote about how higher sales are being fueled by tourism and more non-Mormons. Then the Trib wrote about the big headaches from the so-called Zion Curtain solution, which virtually no one in their right mind understands. Most reasonable drinkers just shake their heads in disbelief. But the conservative Cato Institute weighed in on the bigger issue as far back as 1991, arguing that Prohibition actually increased the demand for alcohol, especially among the young who liked the excitement and intrigue. And then, of course, among those who just don't like to be told no.

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Legislative Hubris
It looks like there's no end to the hubris of Utah legislators—you know, the people you elected because they are so smart and know so much about what's good for you. House Speaker Greg Hughes is just one, but maybe the most visible as he gets all pumped up about the fragile and threatened Northwest Quadrant where he wants to site an inland port, and dispense with any local interference. It's not enough that the state prison is being built among disappearing wetlands, the Northwest Quadrant looks ripe for development—at all costs. Salt Lake City was taken by surprise, but who cares? The Legislature loves to talk about state's rights, but happily usurps local rights. Apparently, there's something enticing about undeveloped land, no matter how vulnerable. Just take a look at the move toward a Promontory Point landfill.

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Saved by the Study
At least there are studies. The Salt Lake Tribune had a big spread this week on air pollution—like, it's not good and how great it is that people aren't driving quite as much as they used to. And The New York Times talked about the energy benefit of staying home and watching Netflix. But the water stories get buried. Take the story from Science Magazine saying the Great Salt Lake has been shrinking since 1847, and it's not because of global warming. It's because of people. People divert 3.3 trillion liters of water each year from feeder streams, drying up the lakebeds and polluting the air. The Trib noted in a story that the Division of Water Resources doesn't calculate accurately water consumption, which could be off 30 percent just from unmetered water for lawns and gardens. Utah's anticipating a population boom, but it will be a dry one if we don't pay attention.

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