ST. GEORGE – A local conservation group is celebrating its 10th anniversary and announcing a partnership with a national climate change group. An open house is set for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of Conserve Southwest Utah, formerly Citizens for Dixie’s Future.
In addition to celebrating 10 years of conservation activism, Conserve Southwest Utah has announced that it is partnering with Citizens’ Climate Lobby to focus on education about human-caused climate change and policies to address it, Conserve Southwest Utah President Tom Butine said.
The partnership will blend Conserve Southwest Utah’s interest in air quality, energy policy and climate impacts with Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s interest in implementing policy solutions for climate change.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a national organization involved in promoting clean energy, member Doug Rollins said. The group already has a chapter in Salt Lake City and is interested in forming a new chapter in St. George.
“Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the largest and most active conservation organization in Southwest Utah with its history of advocating clean energy and clean air makes it the perfect partner for a CCL chapter here,” Rollins said in a press statement. Rollins will co-chair a new St. George chapter of the climate group along with Butine.
The partnership makes sense, Butine said, because Conserve Southwest Utah has worked on climate change issues in the past such as the coal plant in Nevada which was affecting an Indian reservation.
“All of our conservation efforts here in Southwest Utah and around the world will be a lost cause if we fail to address climate change,” Butine said in a press statement. “Utah, with its abundance of fossil fuels, its reliance on them for energy, and its political mission to continue mining, burning and exporting them in spite of the economic and environmental damage, offers a great opportunity.”
Citizens’ Climate Lobby promotes legislation that would create a carbon fee and dividend as a climate change solution, Rollins said. According to the group’s website, the fee and dividend would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 52 percent to below 1990 levels while growing the economy and saving lives.
Under the proposed system, a carbon fee would be charged on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. All of the fees would be given back to U.S. households each month to offset increased costs from carbon-emitting energy sources, Rollins said.
Raising the price of coal and other high-carbon fuels would generate more interest in wind, solar and other alternative power sources and make them more competitive, Rollins said. The fee and dividend system would put money in the pocket of consumers to pay for wind and solar energy, he said.
The vast majority of households would receive more than they pay for increased energy costs, according to information from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The program is projected to inject billions of dollars into the economy, free up households to make independent choices about their energy usage, spur innovation and build demand for low-carbon products, according to the conservationist group.
Conserve Southwest Utah
Citizens for Dixie’s Future, now Conserve Southwest Utah, began in 2006 when Utah Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Jim Matheson introduced the 2006 Washington County Growth and Conservation Act, Conserve Southwest Utah board member Sandy Johnson said in a press statement. Some citizens objected to provisions of the bill and a small group of people got together and formed the organization Citizens for Dixie’s Future.
The bill’s proponents realized that citizens were concerned and funded the Vision Dixie process to get local input about growth and Washington County’s future, Johnson said. The Vision Dixie process was completed in 2007 and prompted changes in the proposed bill. A revised version became part of the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act.
Citizens for Dixie’s Future continues to oppose the proposed Lake Powell pipeline and the proposed highway through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, Johnson said.
In 2009, the group helped stop the Toquop coal-fired power plant planned for a location just 30 miles from St. George. Citizens for Utah’s Dixie continued to grow and civic involvement has increased over the past 10 years, Johnson said.
The organization’s focus has been educating citizens on public land issues, the Lake Powell pipeline, air quality and maintaining the quality of life in southwest Utah, Johnson said.
Drawings will be held and light refreshments served; children are welcome.
- What: An open house celebrating 10 years of conservation in Southern Utah
- When: Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
- Where: 321 N. Mall Dr., Suite B202
- Lynn Chamberlain, the new Red Cliffs Desert Reserve administrator, will give a short presentation at 12:30 p.m. and SunTran Director Fred Davies will discuss the St. George transit study at 2:30 p.m.
- To get involved with Citizens’ Climate Lobby in the St. George area, contact Doug Rollins by email or phone, 801-330-0250; or Tom Butine by email or phone, 425-893-9781.
- Conserve Southwest Utah, formerly Citizens for Dixie’s Future, website
- Citizens’ Climate Lobby website
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