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US pushes changes to Western land plans that judge blocked

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Interior Department officials are seeking to bolster their case for easing restrictions on energy development, mining and grazing in seven Western states. A federal judge in Idaho blocked the Trump administration plans last year over concerns that they could harm greater sage grouse, a ground-dwelling bird. Assistant Interior Secretary Casey Hammond says a new set of environmental studies published Friday clarifies the steps the government will take to conserve sage grouse habitat. The Interior Department opened a 45-day public comment period on the studies that cover millions of acres of public lands in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and California.


US drops plan to sell leases near famed Utah bike trail

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. officials have dropped plans to sell energy leases in a popular Utah recreational area that's renowned for its mountain biking trails. The reversal by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management comes after local businesses, officials and Gov. Gary Herbert raised concerns about potential effects to the Slickrock Trail near Moab. The two lease parcels would have covered about two-thirds of the trail and been barely a mile from Arches National Park. Under President Donald Trump, the amount of acreage leased for oil and gas development in Western states has been sharply increasing. The land agency said Friday that local officials and businesses raised legitimate issues, including effects on water supplies.


Tribes turn to other heat sources after coal mine closure

POLACCA, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo and Hopi families in northeastern Arizona that have long relied on coal to heat their homes are looking to other sources after last year's closure of a coal mine. The Kayenta Mine shut down after decades of supplying the Navajo Generating Station. The Navajo and Hopi tribes shared in the coal royalties. Tribal members also had access to the coal, regularly loading the long-burning fossil fuel into pickup trucks or buying it from roadside vendors. Now they're having to travel farther for coal, switching to firewood or even burning household items to stay warm.


University of Utah football player charged with 3 rapes

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A University of Utah football player accused of raping a 17-year-old girl is facing additional charges after prosecutors say he also raped two women. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that 20-year-old wide receiver Terrell Perriman is now charged with eight felonies, including three counts of rape. Perriman initially faced a single count of rape and a charge of aggravated kidnapping on suspicion of assaulting a teen girl he met on Instagram. Prosecutors added to the charges Friday, saying he raped two women in Salt Lake County. A defense attorney says Perriman didn't rape the teen. He didn't respond to a message about the additional charges. The football team dismissed Perriman on Friday.


Court overturns conviction for accomplice in officer death

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a woman convicted as an accomplice in a police officer's killing in 2014. Chief Justice Matthew Durrant wrote in an opinion released Friday that there is a reasonable possibility the jury would not have found Meagan Grunwald guilty if there hadn't been an error in jury instructions. He wrote that “our confidence in the guilty verdict is undermined.” Justice Thomas Lee dissented. Authorities said Grunwald, then 17, drove the car for her boyfriend during a deadly 2014 police chase that resulted in the death of Utah County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Cory Wride.


Nature reserve and park envisioned for shores of Utah Lake

PROVO, Utah (AP) — A proposed public park and nature reserve on the shores of Utah Lake would provide restoration habitat for birds and walking trails, fishing spots and bird watching towers. The Daily Herald newspaper in Provo reports that the 1,000-acre park would be nestled between Provo, Orem and Vineyard on lands where the Ute tribe once hunted and fished. A coalition of government and private groups are asking state lawmakers for $5.6 million for the project.

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