HEAL Utah Expresses Concerns Over Senate Bill 57, the Utah Constitutional Sovereignty Act
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Salt Lake City, UT (February 1, 2024) – HEAL Utah, a leading environmental advocacy organization dedicated to improving Utah’s air quality and safeguarding the well-being of our communities, is deeply concerned about the potential consequences of Senate Bill 57, also known as the Utah Constitutional Sovereignty Act. Sponsored by Senator Sandall, SB 57 seeks to grant Utah the authority to challenge presidential executive orders or federal regulations that are believed to infringe upon Utah’s sovereignty.
This legislation proposes that if any law, rule, regulation, or presidential action is perceived by Utah lawmakers as a violation of state sovereignty, they may initiate the process by crafting a concurrent resolution. To pass this resolution into law, it must receive approval by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate and also require the governor’s approval. In essence, SB 57 would require the federal government to sue Utah for non-compliance with federal laws and regulations, instead of Utah initiating lawsuits against federal laws or regulations they disagree with.
HEAL Utah acknowledges that this bill claims to draw its authority from the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reserves powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution to the States or the people. Similar laws have been proposed in other states, such as the Texas Sovereignty Act of 2017. Furthermore, states have attempted to nullify federal laws and regulations they oppose in the past. However, these efforts have been rejected by the Supreme Court based on the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. Consequently, it is essential to consider the potential ramifications of SB 57 including the unintended consequences and confusion that could result in more litigation, paid for by Utah taxpayers, and delay the rules and regulations needed to protect communities from air pollution.
The potential impact of SB 57 on areas such as air quality regulations, like the EPA’s Ozone Transport Rule, is of particular concern to HEAL Utah. We firmly believe that protecting our air quality and the health of our residents should be a top priority. SB 57 could divert valuable resources and attention away from crucial efforts to improve Utah’s air quality, which is already a pressing concern for our state.
HEAL Utah calls on the Governor to carefully consider the implications of SB 57 and to prioritize the health and well-being of Utah residents by focusing on measures that genuinely address our environmental challenges. We believe that collaborative efforts with federal agencies and compliance with existing regulations are essential to protect our environment and public health.
About HEAL Utah
The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah) has been an environmental advocacy organization, watchdog, and strategic influencer in Utah since 1999. By empowering grassroots advocates, using science-based solutions, and developing common-sense policy, HEAL has a track record of tackling some of the biggest threats to Utah’s environment and public health — and succeeding. The organization focuses on clean air, energy and climate, and radioactive waste. HEAL uses well-researched legislative, regulatory, and individual responsibility approaches to create tangible change, and then utilizes grassroots action to make it happen.