While the Great Salt Lake reminds us daily of the need to take environmental problems seriously, we can take heart in the ways our state is leading on the issue. From clean energy innovations to our elected officials embracing serious policy solutions, Utah is where the rest of the country can look for inspiration.
Our economy has been a powerful and underappreciated tool in the fight against pollution. Salt Lake was recently home to the first major innovation in gasoline in 80 years, lowering vehicle emissions by 12%. Our steel manufacturers have been in the news for their sustainability practices, and Beaver County has garnered global attention for harnessing geothermal energy. Delta’s power plant is transitioning to natural gas and hydrogen, and the underground salt caves nearby are becoming state-of-the-art hydrogen storage facilities.
Inspired by these innovations, Utah lawmakers are at the forefront of the movement for conservative environmental policies, seen recently as Sen. Mitt Romney has traveled the state highlighting some of the innovators mentioned above. Rep. Moore and other members of the delegation have worked with state leaders to ensure they have the tools necessary to address the shrinking Great Salt Lake, and Rep. John Curtis has made headlines nationwide by launching the Conservative Climate Caucus. Sen. Romney has also spoken multiple times about the effectiveness of border-adjusted carbon pricing, most recently at the Sutherland Institute, where he highlighted climate change as one of our nation’s greatest challenges. Such a policy would make reducing pollution profitable and be a boon to many innovative Utah businesses.
As the president of college Republicans at Utah State University, I’m encouraged whenever our state leads on this issue. When we stand on the sidelines, we risk Washington embracing less productive approaches to climate that increase the deficit and have little impact on worldwide emissions. By taking the reins on climate, we are able to safeguard the health of our natural environment while also building a strong and resilient economy.
Ryan Smith, Logan