Your Taxpayers Association’s opposition to Utah municipalities’ participation in the financially risky and unproven small modular nuclear reactor project has led some to believe  your Taxpayers Association opposes clean energy and nuclear energy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Climate change and clean energy are serious issues for Utah businesses and consumers alike. While there exists a need to address these issues, lawmakers and policymakers must do so in a way that leverages the free market in order to ensure that funding for climate action initiatives does not fall squarely on the backs of taxpayers.

Growing Climate Solutions Act

That is one of the reasons the U.S. Congress’s bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act is such an important piece of legislation. The bill was introduced this past summer by Indiana Senator Mike Braun (R) and a broad bipartisan coalition of senators and representatives in the House, including Utah Representative John Curtis (R).

If passed, the Growing Climate Solutions Act would help increase the adoption of climate-friendly agricultural techniques and processes that would help lower carbon emissions through a voluntary, market-based approach. The solution outlined in this bill is not a carbon tax or cap and trade—and, unlike the UAMPS Small Modular Nuclear Reactor program, it would not pile new financial burdens on taxpayers here in Utah or anywhere else.

Growth-Friendly Certification Program

Instead, this legislation would simply create a certification program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help streamline entry and participation in existing carbon credit markets for farmers, foresters, and ranchers. That includes providing access to reliable information on these markets as well as technical assistance for farmers to voluntarily adopt carbon-reducing practices.

This new program will help connect landowners and agricultural producers to private-sector entities that will be certified by the USDA who can help implement and incorporate carbon-reduction practices, such as carbon sequestration, and monetize these practices. Not only will that help open up new revenue streams for Utah’s hard-hit farmers, ranchers, and foresters, but it will enable them to help play a role in reducing the impacts of climate change while at the same time improving soil health and quality.

Again, when compared to the potentially disastrous UAMPS Small Modular Nuclear Reactor program, which could face significant financial overruns that end up hitting Utah ratepayers in their wallets, this legislation takes a much more practical—and taxpayer-friendly—approach. By leveraging the free market to help interested landowners voluntarily adopt carbon-reducing agricultural practices, the Growing Climate Solutions Act sets a good example of how policymakers should be working to address issues related to climate change and clean energy.

Ultimately, there is no reason why combating climate change and spurring the development of new, clean energy solutions should not also bolster our economy, without infringing upon taxpayers’ rights. That is what the Growing Climate Solutions Act offers, and it is how members of Congress and the Utah legislature should view these issues moving forward.