Hinkins, Anderson say rural Utah gets shortchanged
Representative Jerry Anderson and State Senator David Hinkins, as the keynote speakers at the Carbon Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Thursday, spent most of their time talking about issues they see as important to the local area. The talked little about what went on at the legislature this past session, but instead concentrated on the problems the federal government is causing rural areas, small business and the energy industry.
"The last eight to 10 years it is has been really tough to be in business," said Hinkins, who addressed the group first, referring to regulations that cost businesses money and time.
He went on to talk about the situation with air pollution along the Wasatch Front and how some of that problem could bleed over and affect the whole state if something isn't done.
"I worry that if the state doesn't fund the Utah Division of Air Quality properly the federal government will step in and take it over," he said.
Hinkins suggested that the state seems so concerned about air pollution yet they continue to grow the economy only along the Wasatch Front where the most pollution and congestion already exists.
"As I drove past the Silicon Slopes (north of Lehi on the south side of the Traverse Mountains) I saw they are putting up three big new buildings," he said intimating that maybe the state should start to look at spreading some of that expansion toward the rural areas where congestion and air pollution are not problems.
Hinkins also spoke about how the state works to blame others for the air pollution along the Wasatch Front.
"The state picks on everyone else but the Wasatch Front concerning the pollution up there," said Hinkins. "Look at the Salt Lake International Airport, They have 300 jets taking off every day and the pollution that causes. They could move the airport away from town like Denver did."
He also talked about how the state picks on small polluters like Stericycle, the burn plant in Bountiful that burns medical waste.
He also addressed the problem of representation in the area and how it could be compromised by a growing number of voters from metropolitan areas in senate and house districts that previously have represented rural areas.
"I was at a meeting in Springville and people were seated all around me," he said. "I was speaking and some guy behind me said 'What have you done for us?'" said Hinkins. "I pointed out that I voted for the $1.2 billion expenditure for their highway (I-15) and that I come from an area that gives them low cost energy."
He also pointed out that being a Republican has given him power in the legislature that the area could never have had had they continued electing a Democrat to his seat.
"Look at Gene Davis," he said. "I have had leadership roles after only being in the Senate after a few years, while he has been in place for a long time and has never had the chance to chair a committee."
Hinkins said that he still believes in the way it used to be when Utah first became as state. At that time each county had their own Senator, and that way they all got equal representation. But he said that changed years ago with a court case that changed it from geographical representation to population based representation.
Jerry Anderson, the legislator from District 69 then spoke to the group and talked about federal control and freedom issues.
"I am not sure many of you have not considered how much the Bureau of Land Management has in this country," he said. The control and manage an eighth of the land in the United States. And they manage it badly."
He also pointed out that he thinks the federal government is overloaded with regulations and regulators.
"We used to have 29 coal mines," said Anderson. "Now we have only a few mines and the regulators that monitor the mines are more numerous than he miners themselves."
He also talked about the bill he introduced in the legislature, based on his scientific knowledge of plants and his own studies. That bill would have put a limit on the state government's ability to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases. The bill, HB 229 was intended to narrow the terms for air contaminants as it related to the natural components of the atmosphere as it naturally exists.
The bill, however, did not pass.
"The federal government says the Hunter Plant puts out three million metric tons of CO2 a year," he said. "Now think about the fact that 10,000 parts per million is only one percent of what would be in the air."
Anderson, who holds a masters degree in biology, says he has a CO2 meter and has measured the gas at various places in Carbon and Emery County, and the results he spoke about showed the levels were not bad and in fact they were lower in some places closer to the power plants than they were farther away. He maintains that more CO2 would be better for the planet, not less.
"I taught biology and plants would not survive without CO2," he stated.
Anderson ended his talk with how successful he thought the legislature had been this year.
"In all 486 bills passed the legislature this year," said Anderson who is a proponent of less government and less regulation. "But on the other hand 736 did not pass. That is a real record. We passed fewer bills."