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  • Writer's pictureTom Moyer

Angles on HB304 testimony, and next meeting T March 12 9am

Hello all: We're still waiting to see if HB304 gets a hearing. Ifwe are able to get one, it will be Friday or Monday. Until then here are some ideas for angles to explore (for testimony and/or op-eds etc.), plus info on next week's meeting, which will be at on Tuesday, not on Wednesday, and downtown, not at the Capitol.

Angles to explore for testimony etc.

We had a good discussion during today's meeting about how to approach a possible hearing (and/or letters to the editor or op-eds). Rep Briscoe suggested having different speakers focus on different angles rather than having everyone repeat the same message. I took the brainstorm list we worked on and massaged it into a list of six angles: local air pollution, rural economic development, taxes and economics, the Utah angle, the 2030 Olympics, and climate change. Details on these six can be found below (all of them labeled as #1, which seems fine!); feel free to expand on any of these or come up with (and send me/us!) other ideas. If and when the bill gets a hearing there may only be limited opportunities for testimony, or there may be lots of opportunities for testimony, so I think the plan is to try to find specific individuals who can target specific angles (e.g.,Tom suggested Jean Hill from the Catholic Diocese for the climate change / moral imperative angle) and then have others chime in if possible. This process is likely to be somewhat chaotic if there is a hearing, but even if there isn't this is all grist for the mill in terms of future LTEs, op-eds, etc.

If you are interested in testifying, draft 2-3 paragraphsfor what you would say if you had 1-2 minutes before a legislative committee. Send it to me ( and/or to We will try to prioritize these in advance, so that we cover the different angles well.

Next meeting TuesdayMarch 12 at 9am downtown: All are welcome!

We've been focused on the current legislative session, but we have also discussed a ballot measure option if the legislative path forward appears to be a dead end in the years ahead. During today's meeting there was interest in discussing the pros and cons of a ballot measure, so we'll be having an informal discussion about the ballot measure option on T March 12from 9-10am at the 2nd floor meeting room at the Impact Hub (150 S State St). All are welcome!If you have any troubles then call or text me 206-351-5719. (And if you're confused because we talked earlier today about meeting on W March 13 then my apologies for switching the date on you.)

Cheers, and read on for some HB304 angles, Yoram

The local air pollution angle

Governor Herbert has asked for $100m in one-time funding, but this bill would provide $45m a year in ongoing funding. That’s what we need to make progress given the headwinds from population growth, economic growth, etc.Air pollution is a threat to public health.Air pollution is a threat to economic vitality.Climate change is a risk, too, for example because of the growing impact of wildfires. (Bill Barron may have a contact who works as a firefighter for BLM who can testify about this.)

The rural economic development angle

This bill provides $5m a year to help rural economies adjust to the impacts of automation, globalization, and other economic changes.We can pretend those changes aren’t coming, or we can be proactive. Wyoming was not proactive and is now on the verge of passing a coal-bailout bill that University of Wyoming economist Jason Shogren says “could force Wyoming families and businessesto pay hundreds of millions of dollars in higher electricity costs.”Even if you ignore climate change, you have to face the fact that natural gas has become cheaper than coal. And even if you ignore that fact, you have to see that driverless trucks and other kinds of automation are going to lead to job losses in coal country. We have to do something for coal country, and this bill puts $5m that can go toward programs like the Coal Country Strike Team and other rural economic development efforts.Climate change is also going to have impacts on agriculture, on water supplies, and on forest lands.

The financial angle (taxes and economics)

We should be taxing fossil fuels instead of food, pollution instead of profits.Utah is one of 14 states that tax grocery store food, and one of 13 states that tax Social Security benefits. (Kiplinger lists Utah as one of the ten least tax-friendly states for retirees.)Air pollution is a threat to economic vitality. So is climate change, e.g., many people like to live or visit because of “the greatest snow on earth”.This bill is a small-government market-based approach to air quality problems.

The Utah angle

Other states (like California) pursue heavy-handed regulatory approaches to environmental issues. Utah can show the way forward with small-government market-based approaches to improving air quality and tackling climate change.Utahns broadly support this idea: A recent Yale surveyfound that 62% of Utahns think fossil fuels companies should pay a carbon tax; another poll by The Nature Conservancyfound that 77% of Utahns “want to increase state funding to protect water, improve air quality, protect natural lands, and promote clean energy.”This bill is a small-government market-based approach to air quality problems.

The 2030 Olympics angle

Utah should get ready to show the world it can lead on three important issues:Local air pollution: The Winter Olympics and the inversion are a bad combination.Climate change: Does the Winter Olympics want to come to a place that gets 70% of its power from coal?An economy that works for everyone: tax reform to benefit working families, economic development funds for rural communities.

The climate change angle

Impacts: Extreme weather, flash floods, droughtSki industry? National security?Moral imperative (Jean Hill from Catholic Diocese?)Ask for assignment to Interim for more discussion

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