SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature moved swiftly and unanimously passed a resolution supporting Ukraine and urging action against Russia for invading the country.
House Concurrent Resolution 21 declares that Utah stands with the people of Ukraine and urges the United States government to take steps to punish Russia and offer humanitarian relief to the Ukranian people.
Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, who lived in Ukraine and met his wife there, spoke from the House floor in Ukranian.
"It's the idea that together we are many but we will not be defeated," he said, translating his own remarks to the House. "Why does it matter that Utah take a position on this? I think it goes back to that same chant. Together, we are many. And so I am heartened by my colleagues here that have given support to Ukraine, our state here, our president, leaders of our country and the international community to step out and stand up for this country."
Senate Republican and Democratic leaders were trying to explore if there was more the state could do. Governor Spencer Cox issued an executive order on Saturday, pulling Russian-made alcohols from state-run liquor stores and ordering a review of any procurement agreements the state may have with Russia.
Some European nations have cut off energy agreements with Russia. Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, questioned if Utah could ship some resources overseas.
"We sit here with the capacity of giving them natural gas," he said. "Yet we don’t have a port, we don’t have a way to get it to them."
"We have allies, we shouldn’t force Europe to be dependent on Russia. And we need to have an energy policy that has excess natural gas to get it to Germany," he added.
Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, said the U.S. should send exports of energy to Europe.
"I actually agree there is an opportunity to support Europe to stop any dependency with Russian energy. A good way for the United States to be supportive is to export our energy," she said.
Utah's efforts to export fossil fuels from ports in California have been repeatedly blocked, something the Senate President has opposed.