Turret Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

Utah’s House Legislature took a strong stance against cap and trade as well as the alleged scientific consensus by passing a nonbinding resolution yesterday 56-17. Specifically, the resolution “urges the United States Environmental Protection Agency to halt its carbon dioxide reduction policies and programs and with its “Endangerment Finding” and related regulations until a full and independent investigation of the climate data conspiracy and global warming science can be substantiated.

Most state representatives are not only questioning the scientific consensus but also the economic implications of cap and trade or similar carbon dioxide regulations. “I’m afraid of what could happen to our economy, to our rural life, to our agriculture, if such a detrimental policy continues to be pursued for political reasons,” said Rep. Kerry Gibson.

Heritage economists modeled the economic effects of a cap and trade system by state. By 2035, Americans living in the state of Utah will see their electricity prices rise by $805.04 and their gasoline prices rise by $1.26 per gallon solely because of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill passed in the House. As the economy adjusts to rising energy prices, employment will take a big hit in Utah. Beginning in 2012, job losses will be 14,875 higher than without a cap-and-trade bill in place. And the number of jobs lost will only go up, increasing to 23,962 by 2035.

Jim Scarantino, editor of the New Mexico Watchdog, hopes the Land of Enchantment follows suit. Scarantino writes, “Although proposed legislation to give the Environment Department and the Environmental Improvement Board authority to work on implementing a cap and trade regime for New Mexico has died in this legislature, the EIB is moving forward to consider a petition by New Energy Economy of Santa Fe and other environmental groups to impose a cap on C02 emissions statewide.”

If a federal plan to reduce carbon dioxide won’t do anything to reduce the earth’s temperature, you can imagine what a state plan would do. Nothing but create economic hardships for the state of New Mexico.

Utah’s rejection of the scientific consensus is a welcoming step and echoes many Congressional calls for an investigation and more scientific integrity. Capping carbon dioxide emissions will cost money and jobs and to cap CO2 based on inconclusive evidence makes it that much worse.

And maybe  it’s time to take a second look at the Western Climate Initiative. The initiative includes both Utah and New Mexico, along with Arizona, California, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec and the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. When Senior Policy Analyst Ben Lieberman testified before the House and Senate Western Caucus last year, he warned that cap and trade would disproportionably affect the West. In fact, “Citing financial worries, the State of Arizona has backed out of a broad regional effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the West through a cap-and-trade system.”

The West is getting it. When will Washington?