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Utah Legislation Recognizes Climate Change With New Resolution

Ceremonial signing of climate resolution by Utah governor
Utah Governor's Office
Utah Governor Gary Herbert is joined by Representative Rebecca Edwards and high school students who helped write the language of Utah's newest Climate Resolution

Last week, Utah legislation took a leap towards a more sustainable future with the passing of the state’s first climate change resolution. The House Concurrent Resolution on Environmental and Economic Stewardship was sponsored by Republican Representative Rebecca P. Edwards of District 20.

“In Utah, we like to be leaders and this past session we had the opportunity to do that very thing by passing the first climate change resolution in the country coming from a red state,” Edwards said.

Representative Edwards said she first became aware of the issue when it was introduced by concerned high school students last year.

“In 2017, they brought the language for a resolution and we worked with those students as well as some other stakeholders and groups during that next year and came back in January 2018,” Edwards said.

Now that the resolution has passed, it stands as a proclamation to Utah’s renewed stance on climate change. 

“Back in 2010," said Micahel Shea, analyst for HEAL Utah, "this same legislative body passed a resolution not only denying the existence of climate change but also urging the EPA and state agencies to not think about carbon in any of the conversations.”

Although the resolution is non-binding, Shea, like many other stakeholders, is encouraged.

“What we’re talking about is using the resolution as a jumping off point to begin to implement serious policy changes whether it be accelerated retirement of Utah’s coal plants or pushing more electric vehicles on the streets or looking at ways we can reduce carbon in other sectors of the economy,” he said.  

As well, Representative Edwards hopes the new legislation will inspire other conservative states to start making changes.

“The kinds of things that are talked about in the resolution need to be a part of every conversation,” she said.  

To read the Concurrent Resolution follow the linkhere.