Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson, who challenged climate change, resigns to take state natural resources post

Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson announced Tuesday that he is resigning his seat to become the deputy director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

The fifth-generation Ogden dairy farmer and a former three-term Republican Utah House member said his resignation will be effective Jan. 12.

“I believe my background and experience can help DNR and the state address some of Utah’s critical natural resource needs,” he said.

“With over 3 million residents and the expectation that our population will double in the next 40 years,” Gibson added, “difficult decisions are being made today that will have a significant impact on Utah families.”

While serving in the Utah House, Gibson occasionally challenged the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2010, for example, he sponsored a resolution, HJR12, that said “climate alarmists’ carbon dioxide-related global warming hypothesis is unable to account for the current downturn in global temperatures.”

HJR12, which sailed through the session along partisan lines, called on the Environmental Protection Agency to halt carbon-reduction policies and withdraw the “endangerment finding until a full and independent investigation of climate data and global warming science can be substantiated.”

Natalie Callahan, a spokesman for Gibson, said Tuesday that he feels that all “should be good environmental stewards, and we all have a part in taking care of the environment.”

Gibson said his new post offers an opportunity to protect Utah’s way of life for coming generations. “By working together, we’ll find solutions that protect our natural resources and maintain our quality of life.”

Gibson has served on the Weber County Commission for seven years.

“We have held the commission to a standard of integrity by opposing unnecessary spending and taxes,” he said, “demanding transparency and never settling for the status quo.”

Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden, announced Tuesday that he will seek the commission seat that Gibson is vacating.

Reporter Brian Maffly added to this report.