Utah’s west desert ranchers have found an ally in their fight against water-hungry Las Vegas in the governor. The governor of Nevada, that is. Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has come out against a plan from Las Vegas water brokers to buy up rural Nevada and western Utah and pump the ranchers’ water to Sin City. Gibbons has his own ideas for satisfying the unquenchable thirst of development-mad Nevada, Utah and the rest of the West. He wants to build huge ocean desalinization plants in California, then trade the resulting drinkable water for California’s share of the Colorado River. It sounds daffy, but no more so than the multibillion dollar, 200-mile-long pipeline required to move rural desert water to Las Vegas.
Oops. The U.S. Department of Defense forgot to notify 3,000 servicemen they had been secretly used as guinea pigs to test the effects of germ-warfare agents. Congressional investigators at the U.S. General Accounting Office recently reported the military gave up after tracking down just half of the 6,000 exposed to VX nerve gas, sarin gas and E. coli during the secret “Project 112” tests on U.S. ships during the 1960s and 1970s. Designed at Fort Douglas and Dugway, the tests were unearthed by Deseret Morning News. The Pentagon only admitted the tests occurred in 2002, then apparently did a half-baked job of cleaning up after itself. No attempt at all was made to notify around 1,900 civilians exposed, the GAO wrote.
It’s been a long time coming, but after six years delay, Utah Legislature at last saw fit to build a new home for old soldiers. The $20 million approved by the Legislature will allow construction of a nursing home in Ogden and bring the number of beds for Utah veterans to 200. That is still just half the slots Utah should have according to federal regulators. Utah vets, while celebrating, will have to get immediately back to work to convincing lawmakers at the state and federal level of the worth of soldiers after they return from the battlefield. One reason for the Utah Legislature’s long delay in approving the Ogden home is that the federal government hasn’t come through with promised reimbursement money.