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Published on August 08, 2017 at 06:43AM

TRUMP-COAL ROYALTIES Interior scraps Obama-era rule on coal royalties WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department has scrapped an Obama-era rule aimed at ensuring that coal companies don’t shortchange taxpayers on huge volumes of coal extracted from public lands, primarily in the West.

The Trump administration put the rule on hold in February after mining companies challenged it in federal court. Officials later announced plans to repeal the rule entirely. The final repeal notice was published Monday in the Federal Register and takes effect Sept. 6.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says repeal provides “a clean slate” to create workable regulations going forward.

He said Interior remains committed to collecting every dollar due, noting that public lands are assets belonging to taxpayers and Native American tribes.

Still, Zinke says repealing the rule will reduce costs that energy companies would otherwise pass on to consumers.

HOMELESS SHELTER-POLICE PRESENCE Police triple presence near troubled Salt Lake City shelter SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City police are beefing up their nighttime presence near an overcrowded homeless shelter that’s been the scene of violence in recent weeks.

The department tripled the number of officers near the arena where the Utah Jazz play over the weekend, and expect keep the numbers up.

Police say 22 officers are now patrolling the streets near The Road Home shelter at night, up from seven usually on the beat.

Authorities say the department hopes that a more visible presence will deter drug dealing and violence. Some of the officers are from the motorcycle and gang units while others are working overtime.

Three people have been killed in the area over the last two weeks, the latest in a trend that’s been troubling city and state leaders.

SOLAR-RATE INCREASE

Power company seeks rate increase for rooftop solar users (Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com) ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — State utility regulators are poised to consider raising rates for people who have rooftop solar panels and sell their extra back to the power company, a proposal that solar-panel companies say could deal a blow to their burgeoning industry.

The Spectrum reports Rocky Mountain Power researchers argue that rooftop solar customers are not paying their fair share for their service while being paid the full retail price for the solar power they produce. A Salt Lake City think-tank’s analysis found that rooftop solar customers save the company’s $1.3 million annually without the need for new generation facilities and through lower transmission cost.

The Utah Public Service Commission is planning two hearings on the issue to get public input and consider the proposal.
BODY FOUND-BUNKERVILLE

Coroner ID’s woman found dead in remote Gold Butte monument LAS VEGAS (AP) — Authorities in Las Vegas have identified a 59-year-old woman whose body was found last month in a remote part of the Gold Butte National Monument, but are still investigating her cause of death.

The Clark County coroner said Monday that Lorann King’s body was discovered July 23 near Devils Cove Road.

Las Vegas metropolitan police cover the area, and the department opened a death investigation after the National Park Service reported the body had been found off State Route 170 near Bunkerville.

That’s a hamlet about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The National Weather Service logged a heat wave in the area at the time, with daytime temperatures for the week before the discovery averaging about 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius) at the nearby Overton measuring station.

MINE WASTE SPILL-DAMAGES

EPA: No mine spill compensation for groups that file suit DENVER (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says it can’t reconsider multimillion-dollar damage claims from the state of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation over a mine wastewater spill because both have sued the agency.

The EPA said Monday the law prevents it from reconsidering claims from anyone who has filed suit.

That could greatly reduce the claims eligible for compensation. New Mexico sought $130 million and the Navajos $162 million.

The EPA inadvertently triggered the spill at the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado, tainting rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The EPA initially rejected all claims for property damage and personal injury from the spill. The agency appeared to change course Friday, saying it would reconsider those claims.

New Mexico and Navajo officials didn’t immediately return emails seeking comment Monday.

MONEY FOUND-NO MISDEEDS

City inquiry into $13K found in safe uncovers no misdeeds KAYSVILLE, Utah (AP) — Kaysville City Manager Shayne Scott says the investigation that led to the discovery last year of $13,000 in a Kaysville Public Works Department safe has concluded with no revelations of misdeeds.

The Standard-Examiner reported Monday that Scott says the investigation could not “prove any misuse of money,” though investigators also could not definitively disprove misuse, either.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings’ office launched an investigation into the public works department in 2016, as sought by the city, stemming from unspecified allegations of improprieties. Investigators discovered the $13,000 in the course of their efforts and Scott said Friday they couldn’t track the origin of the funds with 100 percent certainty.