Here’s a transcript, to the best of our abilities, of relevant parts of Governor Herbert’s June 2019 press conference, including questions from Ben Winslow of Fox 13 News (who posted this Twitter meme reaction):
Governor Herbert (time stamp 6:00): Air quality, for a lot of reasons, certainly ought to be top of mind for everybody, all elected officials.
Ben Winslow (time stamp 22:55): Governor, there is potentially a ballot initiative in 2020 that would impose a carbon tax to help with air quality and to provide rural Utah economic stimulus. Do you have a position on that yet?
Governor Herbert: You know, I don’t really have a hard position. I’m not opposed to looking at a carbon tax. The intent is to pay for the cost of carbon and what it does to our air quality. I think everybody supports having cleaner air. We certainly want to have potable water, and so these environmental concerns are important. We are actually making change that’s occurring without the carbon tax. So the question is do you need it, will it accelerate change to greener power or not, I’m not certain. Again, we just announced at our Energy Summit some significant opportunities for greener fuel, whether it be geothermal, combination with hydro we have wind power, solar. We are the largest user of wind power in the intermountain west as a state. We’re exporting a lot of solar power now to California, geothermal to California, and opportunities to come together. Again, it’s happening. We know that the public wants to have sustainable, reliable energy. They want to have it affordable. And they want to have it cleaner. That clearly is happening. Right now, for example, we’ve reduced our reliance on coal from 85% of our energy portfolio to 65%. That’s a significant reduction. We’ve increased our greener fuels from 1% to 11%. That’s a significant increase. So the market itself is shaping what’s happening for energy production and Utah is at the forefront of an all-of-the-above approach in a free-market system.
Ben Winslow: So you’re not opposed to a carbon tax. How does that factor into any discussions with tax reform. Even should this [not?] pass, are you suggesting that the legislature look at that?
Governor Herbert: I’m suggesting we ought to consider all things. I’m saying I’m not sure that the carbon tax will change the outcome. But it’s certainly worth a discussion. I’m not supporting it, I’m not opposed to it. I’m willing to have the discussion.
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