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Salt Lake City Joins Others In Backing Clean Power Rules

Salt Lake City leaders are trying to plan for uncertainties linked to climate change, like shifts in snowpack and more frequent storms. They have signed a legal brief in support of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

Salt Lake City is one of 54 cities nationwide that’s throwing its support behind the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in a legal brieffiled Friday at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cities back the federal rules to cut the pollution causing climate change because they’re on the front lines of dealing with impacts like flooding, heat waves and sea-level rise in coastal communities, says Vicki Bennett, Salt Lake City’s director of sustainability.

“Every one of those things are going to affect our residents,” she says. “And cities are the ones who are going to have to find programs to fix that. It’s going to be costing us money, and we need to be prepared for that.”

The National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which includes 26 northern Utah leaders, have also signed onto the amicus brief.

Bennett says Mayor Jackie Biskupski expects the Clean Power Plan to mean a cleaner environment and a clean-energy economy.

“No matter what the state does, Mayor Biskupski and the city are going to move forward and continue to do what we can to provide a healthy place for our citizens to live,” she says.

The state of Utah has joined a lawsuit to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules. And the six Republican members of Utah’s delegation in Congress have voted to them.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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