Procuring the Cure
Can you say "snake oil?" How about "graft?" Yes, both of those terms apply to Utah's recent foray into the state's purchase of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug touted by the leader of the free world as a "why not try" cure for COVID-19. Now, the governor is on notice to find out how the state ended up ordering $800,000 worth of the drug, and at a price Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke determined was "jacked up more than 600 percent." But let's also talk about health and the anti-vax movement. A friend's father who got malaria in the 1950s took hydroxychloroquine and later died from its side effects. Proven for malaria, the drug nonetheless caused kidney failure and other issues in my friend's father. Fear and desperation pushed people toward this "miracle drug" for COVID-19. And fear and desperation may ultimately keep some from taking a vaccine, when one is ready for market.
Kane Opts Out
The Lake Powell Pipeline is far from dead in the water—excuse the pun. But one community has dropped off. According to the Associated Press, "The proposed 140-mile pipeline now excludes a $35 million 10-mile pipeline that would have diverted water to Kane County." Kane decided against putting good money after bad because population projections don't appear to justify the need for so much water. Kane could opt in later, but the good news is that now there's time to push for water conservation in the dry climes of Southern Utah.
A recent NPR On the Media podcast discussed the downside of clean air and falling oil profits in the wake of COVID-19. Yes, "downside," because it's likely to encourage the administration to buy up oil stores and shore up a failing industry rather than help redirect workers to more sustainable careers. The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about how the Trump administration is plotting to revive Utah's uranium industry. Apparently, it's all about keeping up with the Joneses, specifically Russia and China and their nuclear industries. It's also about pumping up some struggling Utah mining concerns, even though the U.S. has plenty of uranium, and many mines are still working. As the Trib article reports, one mining company, Energy Fuels, was part of the 2017 lobbying effort that convinced the Trump administration to whittle down the size of Bears Ears National Monument, where Energy Fuels held mining claims and also owns the Daneros uranium mine west of Bears Ears. For locals, groundwater contamination remains a huge concern. Not so much for the Trump administration.