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Supporters Testify On Climate Resolution Before Panel Kills It

Judy Fahys
A House panel heard a steady stream of testimony Monday in support of a resolution to promote education about climate change. The measure died in a tie vote.

A Utah House panel killed a resolution on climate change Monday. But supporters were pleased despite its defeat.

State Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake gave a pep talk after a House committee voted her resolution down.

“Ice-cream cones all around,” she told about a dozen people gathered around her after the hearing.

Edwards calls the bipartisan resolution a success because it prompted an informative dialogue.

“It’s a great day at the Utah State Capitol that we’ve had a formal discussion in an official legislative committee on the issue of climate change,” she said to the group.

Members of the House Committee on Economic Development and Workforce Services gave the resolution a warm reception during the hearing. Even lawmakers who voted against it praised supporters.

“I’m a multiple-use guy,” said Representative Carl Albrecht, a retired energy-utility executive and Republican who represents the Richfield area. “Somebody mentioned Divine in their presentation. I think God created this Earth and us people to use those things that He put on this Earth.”

The bill died on a 5-5 tie, although there was no public testimony against it.

But that didn’t dampen the good spirits of those who backed the resolution.

“We’re not going away,” says Kai Torrens, a Logan High School junior. “I mean, we’re already planning to introduce this again next year and hopefully getting broader support before doing that.”

In that same hearing room eight year ago, lawmakers heard climate skeptic Roy Spencer on the issue. He said at the time there’s no need to worry about the changing climate.

But the students, retirees and activists who testified Monday had a starkly different message. They emphasized the risk to people and the environment. They urged lawmakers to take it seriously for future generations.

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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