Letter: Carbon-emissions proposal would help all Utahns

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Smoke from wildfires burning across the western U.S. is worsening air conditions on the Wasatch Front, as seen in downtown Salt Lake City Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

When November comes, many Utahns might skip the polls. Candidates seeking victory should give them a reason to show up by acknowledging that we all care about our shared future. The environment, and the type of policy we use to tackle our state's unique environmental problems, is a major part of deciding what that future will look like.

Utah's HB403 is an unprecedented bipartisan tax-swap bill before the state House, introduced by Rep. Joel Briscoe and co-sponsored by Rep. Becky Edwards. Serious candidates should pledge support for the passage of HB403 in 2019, to push us further toward a clean and prosperous era. HB403 would incentivize carbon emissions reduction through a series of usage fees that will benefit all Utahns, especially the more vulnerable of us. This is a double-down win: addressing our pollution and improving our living standards.

Utah's industry and growth are unsustainable through current practices. We can’t continue to cage young children and the elderly in their homes on unhealthy Air Quality Index days. It's time for state leaders to join the military's march toward a clean energy future. Let's vote for candidates who will help get us there, rather than for those who would hold us back.

Naresh Kumar, Salt Lake City