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The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, Dec. 29 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Winner: New Year's Eve may be a bit safer this year because of the marketing efforts of a recent graduate of Westminster College. Jason Knott has founded Breath Advisor, a company that hopes to put breathalyzer machines in bars. One of them sits at the Canyon Inn in Cottonwood Heights. For $2, people can test themselves to see if they still have what it takes to drive home legally and safely. A lot of people tend to underestimate their own level of inebriation. The average people arrested for DUI in Utah this year had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14, and the legal limit is 0.08. Anything that keeps drunken drivers off the streets and away from people they might harm is a good thing.

Loser: While we're on the subject of DUI, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo's arrest this week for driving with what police said was a blood-alcohol level of .110 was troubling. While it was disappointing to see him violate the alcohol-free lifestyle he professed to maintain, it was more disturbing to know he would put the safety of others at risk by driving in such a condition. Crapo apologized and said he was taking responsibility for his actions, and that is encouraging. We hope he can demonstrate clearly that he intends not to repeat such dangerous behavior.

Loser: It came as no surprise, but the BLM's decision this week to approve Nevada's plans to pump water from beneath arid deserts to feed a thirsty Las Vegas was troubling. No one knows what sort of impact the pumping will have on the fragile desert, both in Nevada and Utah. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has said it may be best to sign an interstate agreement governing drilling beneath the Snake Valley, which straddles the state line, just to protect Utah's rights. That may be the only way to ensure that environmental problems are mitigated, should they show up.

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