Thumbs up to the folks in Sevier County who are opposing a coal plant in their backyard. Shame on the County Commission for not standing up on the issue months ago. Shame on Utah lawmakers for not amending SB53 or enacting a law that allows for the public to vote on major issues like coal-fired power plants.

Why are Sevier Power and Fred Finlinson so intent on denying the members of the community their basic right of an opportunity to vote on this issue in their own backyards?

It sure appears to be an issue of money-hungry special-interest folks who want the coal plant, but there are a lot of negative health implications that come from a coal-fired plant. The county commissioners should be held responsible for not taking this issue to the people long before they threw their collective hands in the air and reluctantly allowed the referendum to move forward with the wrong terminology.

I hope the residents of Sevier County will hold those same commissioners and Utah legislators, who allowed this state loophole, accountable on Election Day and future elections. The elected officials had the chance to do the right thing a long time ago.

I support the folks in Sevier County who want this issue to go to the public for a vote. The public should be allowed to weigh in on all issues that directly impact the residents of a community.

I am confident that this is called representative government and is the cornerstone to our nation. The people should be making the major decisions in Utah, not just the few elected officials who cater to special-interest groups.

This coal-fired plant is not an isolated issue among elected officials in Utah. The Lake Powell Pipeline water issue should have also been addressed by a vote by the people in a general election. The Green River Nuclear Plant project that is supported by current state Rep. Mike Noel should have also been taken to the people in an attempt to let the public decide what types of energy plants will be built in OUR backyards.

I think it is way past time for our elected officials in Utah to return to nonpartisan politics, which leads to representative government, and listen to the members of each community in Utah. It is time to ask and listen to those people, who happen to be the taxpayers that are covering the costs for many of these special-interest projects that are supported by elected officials in Utah.

I personally hope the efforts for each and every coal-fired power plant and nuclear power plant fail in Utah. Oil-shale drilling and uranium mining are not the answers either. It is time to put our efforts and revenues toward identifying and funding clean renewable energy sources that provide the opportunity for a healthy future for our kids. Geothermal, solar and wind generation energy sound like good options in a state with plenty of wind and sunshine.

I passionately believe that the people should decide what happens in Utah. Put all of these energy options to a vote by the people, and I will gladly support the decisions of the majority — not just the elected folks who seem to have lost touch with whom they represent.

Best wishes for getting the much-deserved referendum that allows the residents of Sevier County to decide the fate of a coal-fired power plant.

Ted Hallisey is a candidate for Utah House District 73.