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Tuesday 12:30 pm Press Conference at the Salt Palace
For more information, call Michael Shea, HEAL Utah Policy Associate, 801-701- 1885
UTAHNS GATHER TUESDAY OUTSIDE GOVERNOR’S ENERGY SUMMIT TO URGE HERBERT TO RESTART
CLEAN POWER PLAN DEVELOPMENT
ENVIRO AND CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATES URGE UTAH TO ACCELERATE FOCUS ON RENEWABLE
DEVELOPMENT TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CRISIS
WHEN: Tuesday, May 24 at 12:30 pm
WHERE: Near the corner of 200 South and West Temple outside southeast corner of the Salt Palace.
A broad coalition of Utahns will gather at the southeast corner of the Salt Palace Tuesday May 24 at 12:30 pm to call upon Governor Herbert to restart Utah’s planning to meet President Obama’s signature climate change initiative, the Clean Power Plan.
Shortly thereafter, inside the Salt Palace, the Governor’s Energy Summit will begin. The event, as usual, will be dominated by fossil fuel interests, with only token representation of the many Utah entrepreneurs and advocates actively pushing for an orderly transition to cleaner energy sources. “Energy is the basis of our economy – of our civilization. And Energy is the major problem and challenge for climate change and planetary degradation,” says Joe Andrade, retired University of Utah engineering professor. “Many steps are needed to fix, to transform, the economy. Our leaders – at nearly all levels – refuse to recognize that there is a problem to be solved.”
The Clean Power Plan is President Obama’s signature policy aimed at combating climate change. Under the plan, each state must lay out a road map to cut carbon emissions from its power sector by 30 percent by 2030.
On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court “stayed” the plan. This hold is likely to last for approximately 18 months, depending upon how quickly the appellate process proceeds. Utah, under the direction of Governor Gary Herbert, immediately halted all state sponsored implementation processes, despite the minimal cost and large benefit of continuing to gather stakeholder input.
Dozens of states including conservative ones such as Arizona are continuing their Clean Power Plan development. If Utah fails to come up with its own plan, the EPA would force Utah to follow a Federal Plan rather than State plan developed here. Arizona announced it would continue to meet and plan to “to ensure that Arizona is well positioned to produce a state plan and avoid the imposition of a federal plan,” according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Qualities website.
Utah must continue to develop its Clean Power Plan for the very same reason, speakers at the press conference said.
“The Clean Power Plan process needs to be restarted so that stakeholders and the public can weigh in,” says Susan Soleil, Executive Director of Interfaith Power & Light. “We are morally obligated to care for this sacred earth and pass this gift in good working order to the next seven generations. That is the ultimate local control – families, communities and Utah officials all deciding how best to clean up our state’s power plants.”
The consequences of not doing anything about climate change are become more and more apparent. April 2016 is now officially the hottest April ever recorded. 2015 was the warmest year ever recorded and 2014 was the previous winner. In Utah, higher temperatures mean reduced snowpack, threatened water supplies and increased forest fire risk, all with implications for our economic and community health.
“Wasatch Front residents will reap direct benefits through cleaner air from the President’s Clean Power Plan,” says Dr. Park Willis a retired cardiologist and a member of Utah Physicians for Healthier Environment. “Our air pollution is responsible for between 1,000 and 2,000 deaths in Utah every year.
We should be supporting the President's plan for multiple reasons, but clean air is one of the most important. “This coalition is highlighting the energy summit as a missed opportunity to champion the renewable energy that Utah must develop to meet its carbon reduction goals.
“Climate change is very real and the time for action is now,” says David Bennett, a Park City rooftop solar owner and renewable energy advocate. “Our future economic development policies need to be built upon our commitment to transitioning to renewable energy and the benefits to our air, water, and the health of our climate.”
Speakers at today’s conference include renewable energy advocates, scientists, doctors, members of Utah’s religious community and environmental activists. They are all urging the Governor to immediately restart Utah’s Clean Power Plan development process. With oe voice they say, “We cant wait!”
“Across Utah, doctors and medical professionals, moms and dads, business leaders and people of faith have urged our public officials to act to reduce dangerous power plant pollution,” said Lindsay Beebe, Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “Rather than listen to the voices of thousands of his constituents and doing what’s best for the health and safety of our state, Governor Herbert continues to drag his feet and delay the opportunity we have to advance a cleaner and stronger energy economy for Utah.”
For more information, or to schedule an interview, please call:
Matt Pacenza, HEAL Utah, 801-864- 0264
Michael Shea, HEAL Utah, 801-701- 1885
Lindsay Beebe Sierra Club, 860-490- 7828