Here we go again, and again and again. Our beloved utilities dearly want you to pay more to keep them trucking along, and these days, they do it in the name of clean air. That, of course, is a buzzword and not necessarily the truth. Majority Whip Stuart Adams, R-Layton, is proposing Senate Bill 115, the "Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan Act." What could be better? Well, let's say that just about no one thinks it's a great idea. That means everyone from the Utah Manufacturers Association to HEAL Utah. "None of the initiatives proposed in the STEP legislation have been independently evaluated or shown to have a significant impact on air quality. In fact, some of these initiatives may actually harm air quality," a letter from this diverse coalition says. We're talking $100 million over 10 years—and ratepayers possibly getting stuck for 100 percent of the risk.
Polluters Should Pay
And just to stay on track with clean-air bluffs, Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, has been calling out legislators for proposing SB102, "High Cost Infrastructure Tax Credit Amendments," by Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe. This one offers tax credits for converting refineries to Tier 3 fuel—a cleaner burning fuel. And, hey, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski likes it. But maybe she doesn't realize that the tax credits reduce the amount of money going to public ed. "I say the polluters should pay," Dabakis said in a Feb. 3 Facebook post. The idea is to incentivize the refineries to clean up their act, since the cost of coal is way down. The Salt Lake Tribune quoted the Utah Petroleum Association praising the bill. These could be investments of $100 million or more, and not a word about alternative-energy companies.
Did you know that the LDS Church sponsors a Facebook page called "Support Religious Freedom?" This past week, the page posted a YouTube video and a piece from ABC News about President Obama's visit to a mosque and his subsequent defense of religious freedom. In condemning what he called "hateful rhetoric," he drew a comparison with the persecution of Mormons. "Mormon communities have been attacked throughout our history ... We have to understand that an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths," he said, calling for Americans to protect all faiths. While the post was meant to be positive, the LDS Church didn't plan on that rhetoric in the comment section: "It's too bad that President Obama does not seem to care as much about the religious freedom of Christians," said one. "Especially in his own country," remarked another.