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Utah Legislature: House formally questions global warming

SALT LAKE CITY — With most Democrats voting no, the Utah House approved a resolution Tuesday that questions global warming while asking the federal government not to proceed with "cap-and-trade" legislation or CO2 regulation.

Sponsor Rep. Kerry Gibson, R-Ogden, a dairy farmer, agreed to have his HJR12 amended to take out some inflammatory wording, like calling global warming and those who advocate it guilty of "tricks," and a "conspiracy" and "flawed" research.

Gibson said some argue that if the Environmental Protection Agency goes forward with cap and trade on CO2, it could lead to a "cow tax."

Then cows like his own could be measured for "belches" and other gases they produce, which in turn could lead to a head tax that would increase the cost of milk and meat to consumers.

"I believe in global warming," Gibson said. "I believe in global cooling, in (weather) cycles. We've had an ice age, extreme heat," but can humans, "in our everyday lives," change the environment around us?

Instead, through inaccurate data and a general type of hysteria, the public has been pushed to make improper judgments, he said. And adopting CO2 cap and trade would be a diabolical mistake. Such action is really "an energy tax" that will harm all Americans, harm jobs in this country and likely have little or no effect on global warming.

Reps. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, and Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake, said should the EPA actually follow the advice of HJR12, Utah could lose EPA grants for research on clean air and funds for refitting school buses to make them less polluting.

EPA money "has helped Utah schoolchildren," Johnson said.

But the idea that CO2 is somehow detrimental to humans, or to the earth, brought Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, out of his chair.

"CO2 does not give us red days" of air pollution warnings on the Wasatch Front, he said. "That is absolutely untrue."

"First do no harm," said Noel. And cap and trade will do great harm, he added.

Rep. David Litvak, D-Salt Lake, read from a letter by scientists "at that radical university — BYU," which said politicians should not be attacking scientists or science that they, for political reasons, disagree with.

That is a reference to Noel, who has criticized local scientists who have testified that global warming is a fact, that human activity contributes to it, and that actions should be quickly taken to fight it.

HJR12 passed 56-17 and now goes to the Senate for consideration. A resolution is a sentiment of the Legislature, has no force of law, and it's questionable whether congressmen or federal agency officials even read those sent to them.