House Joint Resolution 18’s sponsor, North Salt Lake Republican Rep. Rebecca Edwards, along with Salt Lake City Democratic Rep. Joel Briscoe, collaborated with students from state universities and high schools to craft a measure addressing the causes and consequences of rising temperatures and supporting a commitment to “conservative environmental stewardship.”
Students testified about air quality, shrinking snow packs and the use of alternative energy sources. Quinn Sutton, a student at Brigham Young University, said that the time had come for lawmakers to tackle the problem.
"If I may be so bold to speak for the representatives of the several universities assembled here today, we ask you, our elected officials, to find the political solvency to establish truth over fear and fact over ambiguity and scientific solidarity over political superstition."
Members of the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee said they appreciated the students’ efforts, but voiced concerns about pointing fingers at any one cause of climate change. Rep. Carl Albrecht, a Republican from Richfield and a retired utility executive, said the state shouldn’t remove coal and gas from the equation.
“And I appreciate you coming down from Utah State or the U or Weber or wherever you’re coming from today and I appreciate all the work [that’s] gone into this, but resolutions are sent to Washington D.C. for further action. Do we want to send the message to Washington D.C. that we’re done with fossil fuels here in Utah? Do we want to kill our economy?"
A previous version of the students’ resolution, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis, never made it to a senate committee for a hearing this session. The resolution presented Monday in the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee one failed on a 5-5 vote.