What the Republicans running for House District 30 say about how Utah should address water scarcity

Fred Cox and David Parke will face off in the June 25 Republican primary.

Two candidates are running to become House District 30′s Republican nominee in the June 25 primary.

District 30 includes a portion of West Valley City. The district’s incumbent, Judy Weeks-Rohner, is running to represent the same area in the State Senate District 12 general election.

Fred Cox and David Parke are the two Republicans vying to advance to general election ballots.

The Salt Lake Tribune sent out six questions to 50 candidates across 23 races scheduled for June 25. The Tribune gave these candidates a deadline and word limit, and informed candidates that their answers may be edited for clarity and length. Here’s how Cox and Parke responded the questionnaire:

1) Utah’s largest electricity provider has canceled plans to replace its coal-fired power plants with nuclear power and has walked back comments about investing in clean energy.

Should Utah, while it actively supports housing and business development, also be looking for more sustainable and less fossil fuel and carbon-dependent energy?

Cox: We need clean energy, clean air, clean water, clean land and energy independence. We also need to encourage energy efficiency and technologies such as ground source heat pumps. We may not agree with each other re: CO2 cap/trade, taxes, or our effects on climate. We do need more renewable energy. We have developed better and cleaner ways of using fossil- and carbon-based energy sources. At this stage, we need all of them, but we need long-term solutions.

Parke: It always makes sense to find the most cost-effective, reliable sources of energy that will minimize the impact on our air quality. This includes efficient use of fossil fuel.

2) Yes or no: Is climate change negatively impacting Utah?

Cox: Did not respond with a “yes” or “no” answer.

Parke: Yes.

3) Water scarcity continues to be a challenge for the state. Recent legislation has attempted to conserve water and get more to the Great Salt Lake and Colorado River.

Should Utah do more to subsidize homeowners to conserve water? Should laws require large users to pay more for water? What other steps should state government take to deal with water scarcity?

Cox: No, Utah should not do more to subsidize homeowners to conserve water. We have already passed laws that allow water districts to charge more for water at different rates. Utah should encourage water saving and continue to stop regulations that require wasting water and allowing water-wise landscaping.

The other item is removing a regulation of the state to retain a certain amount of rainwater during site plan stormwater design for projects over an acre. This would cost almost nothing and may reduce the costs of construction.

The state for at least many areas and for many years has required a certain amount of detention to act as a shock absorber to reduce flooding, but it has been recent, the last couple of years, that retention has been required, even when the infrastructure is available to handle the storm water with reduced speed. This should change.

Parke: As a state we have shown our ability to conserve water during tough times. We must continue to focus on water scarcity. Preserving the Great Salt Lake is critical to our city’s future. As a rule, I support usage taxes over general population taxes. Considerations however, should be made for the agricultural industry.

4) Yes or no: Do you support building the Lake Powell Pipeline?

Cox: Did not respond with a “yes” or “no” answer.

Parke: No.

5) Triggered after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, Utah’s current law bans nearly all abortions — except in instances of sexual crimes, when there is a fatal fetal abnormality or when the mother’s life is at risk. For now, that law is currently on hold in the courts and an 18-week ban is active in Utah.

More or fewer: Should Utah’s trigger law have more or fewer restrictions?

Cox: Did not respond with a “more” or “fewer” answer, or say he supports the current law as it is written.

Parke: I support the state’s current position.

6) For or against: Are you voting for or against the constitutional amendment that removes the requirement that income taxes be used for education and social services?

Cox: Against.

Parke: For.

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