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Utah’s Stewart skeptical about climate change threat

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Utah state Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, says climate change has turned into a proxy fight between environmentalists and the oil and gas industries, and he calls for those involved, including Stewart, to approach the issue with an open mind.

Powell sponsored a bill this year that would have the Utah Legislature recognize climate change as human caused and allow land managers to take it into account when planning for wildfires. His bill was defeated in committee 11 to 4.

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To listen in

The subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing Wednesday on “Improving EPA’s Scientific Advisory Processes.” Beginning at 8 a.m. MDT the hearing will be available on live webcast at: http://1.usa.gov/WTHniH

Utah Committee posts

All of Utah’s Republican members of Congress lead or are the ranking member of at least a subcommittee. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, is the exception, though he does have a coveted spot on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has an expansive jurisdiction.

Rep. Rob Bishop » Chairman of the public lands subcommittee on the House Natural Resources Committee, overseeing National Parks and issues pertaining to wilderness.

Rep. Jason Chaffez » Chairman of the national security subcommittee on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, overseeing military and international programs.

Rep. Chris Stewart » Chairman of the environment subcommittee on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, overseeing climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sen. Orrin Hatch » Ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, overseeing tax policy, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

Sen. Mike Lee » Ranking member of the antitrust subcommittee on the Senate Judiciary Committee, overseeing major business mergers

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Afterward a few of his Republican colleagues told him he wasn’t representing the party position, and others argued that any efforts to combat climate change would be extremely costly and have minimal benefits.

"I think it behooves us to be willing to commission the studies, to listen to the experts and try to figure out what the evidence and data are showing," he said.

Stewart promises to do that, saying he’ll "let the science speak for itself."

But at the same time he bristles at comments like one that Sally Jewell, Obama’s nominee to lead the Interior Department, recently made before a Senate hearing. Of climate change, she said: "There’s no question in my mind that it is real, and the scientific evidence is there to back that up."

Stewart responded: "I don’t think that is true. I think there are varied and reasoned and capable opinions from people who say that the science on this is not settled."


Twitter: @mattcanham

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