Make Up Your Mind | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Make Up Your Mind 

Utah revels in its land attractions but its dotted by oil drilling threats. The Legislature commissions a "roadmap" to reduce emissions. But those on the Hill still write love letters to Trump.

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Make Up Your Mind
It's like Utah has a split personality. On one hand, the state revels in the beauty and attraction of its lands. Tourism is a huge draw to national parks and monuments for everything from hiking and skiing to boating and rafting. But wait. The horizon is dotted by dusty black oil rigs, pumping away like woodpecker toys. And it's not because they're cute. Even as the market fluctuates, oil and gas production is big business for Utah. So it was with great relief that Moab gets a reprieve. Public pressure—including from the governor—persuaded the Bureau of Land Management to pull two leases at the Sand Flats Special Recreation Management Area, a Deseret News report said. The mineral leasing law hasn't been updated since 1920, a time when tourism was minimal and fuel was all about digging.


'Climate Heating'
Speaking of "those times they are a-changing," let's not call it climate change. But "climate heating" has become a big concern of, yes, the Utah Legislature. Carefully, carefully crafted, the Legislature commissioned the Utah Roadmap, which is being hailed as a game-changer for air quality in the era of a changing climate. See how we did that? "The Utah Roadmap identifies areas of opportunity to further reduce air emissions and ensure a healthy, productive and prosperous future for all Utahns," writes the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. It was tasked to come up with a plan to reduce emissions affecting the local air quality and the global climate. The Guardian found this move so startling, it titled an article "Red-state Utah embraces plan to tackle climate crisis in surprising shift." And it was House Speaker Brad Wilson who pushed the action.


From Utah With Love
Don't tell Speaker Wilson that Utah isn't all red. Yes, it's pretty darned red, as a recent Utah Policy poll showed. Some 52% of likely voters approve of the president—for whatever weird and twisted reason. Maybe it was the impeachment because they really didn't like Sen. Mitt Romney being so, well, moralistic in his vote to convict Trump on one count. The GOP was all ready to censure Romney, as was Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, but the Legislature demurred. If you thought it was because they suddenly realized the Legislature was not just one political party, think again. Lawmakers slipped out a love letter to the president in the form of a citation, which The Salt Lake Tribune printed in whole. So call us wrong. The Legislature did indeed act like a political party. Just that red one.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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