125 Locals and Activists Call for a Just Transition Away from Fossil Fuels at the Governor’s Energy Summit

Utahns gathered to make their opposition to Utah's fossil fuel leadership known

Sumer Shaikh, sumer.shaikh@sierraclub.org, 774-545-0128

Salt Lake City, UT - Today, 125 locals and activists gathered to oppose Governor Herbert’s energy agenda by convening their own People's Response to the Governor's Energy Summit in support of just transitions away from fossil fuels for rural, coal-dependent communities, ratepayers, and communities suffering from environmental injustices. The annual Governor’s Energy Summit was attended by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and focused on a fossil fuel-heavy approach to energy development that has become the trend in both Utah and the Trump Administration, despite increasing climate change-driven disasters, widespread agreement that fossil fuel combustion is causing global warming, and the availability of common sense solutions.  

In response,

“For generations, our Native Nations have fought against heavy industry.  Big energy and extraction have torn our people apart by creating false land disputes, promising work without delivering, lying about environmental and human health impacts, and polluting our lands and peoples, causing physical and spiritual traumas that will take hundreds of years to heal,” Davina Smith, Executive Director, SLC Air Protectors said. “Here in Utah, our challenges are two-fold we fight to protect sacred and public lands around the State from dangerous extraction industries and we are fighting to stop the proposed Inland Port here in Salt Lake. As a Dine Woman, my goal is to advocate and bring awareness so that we can ensure that clean air, land, water and LIFE are the natural resources that Utah values most. Please, STAND WITH US!! As we work to ensure a future, we can all live with!  Thank you and Ahéhee.”

“A faithful response to climate change must be one of reverence, honesty, and creativity: honesty about the peril our earth faces, reverence for the interconnected web of life of which we are a part, and joyful creativity in crafting solutions,”  Rev. Monica Dobbins of First Unitarian Church said. “People of faith must refuse the politics of profiteering and fear mongering, and embrace an ethic of responsible stewardship.”

“I am here to lift up the voices of kids for environment and clean air. Air pollution, from projects like the Utah Inland Port,  causes premature deaths, strokes, heart attacks, brain diseases, lung problems, cancer, still-births, pregnancy problems, shortened life, among many other problems,” Sayuri Juarez, Middle School Student and Westside Resident, said. “We need to fix this. We can all do something. If we want this to change we have to do something. We all have a voice.”

"Coal country is both in a crisis and at a crossroads.  We can continue to watch our communities suffer from the steady decline of the coal industry due to changing energy markets and improved technology or we can embrace the opportunity to create a new vision for our communities to include sustainable energy solutions and develop  a diversified economy. In the same spirit that we have provided the energy needs for this great nation for the last hundred years, coal communities can also lead the way in the creation of a renewable energy system for this country,” said Malarie Matsuda, Helper City Councilperson.

“As an employee in the solar industry, I see firsthand all the new technology that is changing the way we produce, use and transport energy,” Tom Mills, Energy Consultant/Policy Advocate at Creative Energies said. “Renewable energy has the potential to bring us into an entirely new, cleaner and healthier future. In order to move in this direction we must reassess our grid and policies related to truly take advantage of all the benefits of sustainable energy resources in Utah.” 

The People’s Response to the Governor’s Energy Summit was hosted by Uplift, Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance, Sierra Club,  Utah Valley Earth Forum, Center for Biological Diversity, Civil Riot, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Utah Youth Environmental Solutions,Salt Lake County Environmental Caucus SLC Air Protectors, PANDOS, Citizens Climate Lobby, and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.