High School Students Working To Pass Climate Change Resolution in Utah Legislature
At a February legislative town hall in Logan, Wes Carter and Kai Torrens were two of the youngest people in the room. They’re both Logan High School students and members of the Logan Environmental Action Force, or LEAF club.
“We’re members of the Logan High LEAF club, so for the past few years we’ve been pursuing various legislative initiatives that work on things like climate disruptions and protecting the environment," Carter said. "Last year we had a similar resolution introduced in the House that didn’t quite pass, so this year we’re trying to follow up on that, shifting attitudes, talking to people, and hopefully going to make some progress in the state legislature.”
On Monday, HCR 7 passed the House of Representatives with two-thirds of the members voting in favor. The boys live in Republican Representative Ed Redd’s district.
“Any time people come to one of these meetings, and take time out of their day to come talk to us, it makes a difference," Redd said. "I’m just telling you. It may not change our opinion completely on one issue, but it moves it in a direction. And when kids come, especially kids from high school, come down and tell us what they’re concerned about, they’re the future. They’re our future. When I’m an old, retired dude these guys are going to be the ones who are having jobs and taking care of me. So quite honestly, what they’re concerned about is the future, right?”
Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard of Logan says there’s an important difference between bills and resolutions.
“The problem with a resolution: it really isn’t law," Hillyard said. "And so it states a statement, some people read it and they cheer it, some people read it and boo it, but actually, at the end of the day it’s not a change in law.”
Torrens said the members of the LEAF club recognize this.
“We are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of the decisions that are being made now," he said. "While the resolution, it is a resolution and so it doesn’t commit them to any concrete action or appropriations, it’s a common understanding, and kind of gives us a path going forward.”
On Wednesday, the resolution was introduced in the Senate and will now be heard by members of the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee.