Another atmospheric river is affecting Utah, leaving in its path mudslides, floods, and catastrophic damage to life and property in the West as snow continues to pile up in the mountains (It just keeps coming). While the record snowpack is welcome to help with the ongoing drought, the destruction to our communities is extremely problematic.  

More frequent atmospheric river events are linked to the climate emergency. Warming oceans allow for the atmosphere to hold more moisture, bringing more extreme precipitation events than it would without a warming planet.  

In southwest Utah, flooding has already washed-out roads and sections of the multi-use paths enjoyed by many and closed some St. George golf courses. This is minor compared to the massive flooding, landslides and desperation experienced by snow bound communities in California, where millions of federal tax-payer relief dollars will be needed ... dollars that could be used for other priorities.  

Over 50 feet of snow dumped on California. Even Disneyland experienced snow

First Street Foundation can help you find your home’s risks from floods, wildfires or extreme heat based on your location, making it easy to understand your personal risks from our changing climate. However, we need to address the root cause of our changing climate— our dependance on climate-warming fossil fuels. A carbon fee and dividend would build a resilient energy system with wind, solar and geothermal, all natural resources abundant in Utah.     

Additionally, permitting reform is critical if we’re going to transition to clean energy fast enough to meet critical climate targets. More than 92% of new energy projects awaiting permits are for clean, renewable energy. The goal of permitting reform is to simplify and expedite the permit application process while ensuring that environmental and safety standards are met. Ask your members of Congress to work across the aisle to accelerate development of clean energy infrastructure. 

Jean M. Lown