Today I read that the worst drought in 50 years made two Utah counties eligible for disaster assistance. The Utah Department of Agriculture can now also start addressing climate change. This legal action was submitted to seven state agencies two years ago to collaborate and develop long-range plans for addressing climate change. However, it was denied by all agencies because they feared backlash from cuts in funding and limitations of power by the Legislature, which did not allow them to address climate change.

On Monday the House Natural Resources Committee voted 11-4 in a ruling that one state agency already is making and can make those plans. By stating that House Bill 77 is not necessary because the agency is already using climate science in its fire pre-suppression strategies, all the other agencies now have the green light they were looking for. We aren't the only place in the world feeling current impacts from climate change, and I think this courageous move by our Legislature sends the message to Utah Congressional leaders that a carbon fee and dividend legislation is in order.

Ryan Pleune

Salt Lake City