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Utahns react to President Biden's climate change plan

Posted at 5:28 PM, Oct 28, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of the environmental policy announcements put forth in President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, Utah organizations are weighing in on how it will impact individuals within the state.

One group that is satisfied with the plan is the Healthy Environment Alliance (HEAL) of Utah.

“$555 billion dollars going towards climate issues that’s huge,” Alex Veilleux, a Policy Associate with HEAL Utah said. “320 billion dollars is going to a decade of tax breaks for clean energy and electric vehicles another 105 billion is going toward climate resiliency projects. 40% of it is going to go toward low income communities.”

FOX 13 asked Veilleux who said the biggest impacts he thinks Utahns will see is the price decrease in electric vehicles.

“As an individual you’ll be able to go down and buy an electric vehicle for a lot cheaper,” he said. “So you’ll be able to help out with our air quality in the salt lake valley.”

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The group isn’t on board with everything, such as stripping of some previously drafted provisions and the increase in funding for Nuclear Energy.

“HEAL Utah is very against any Nuclear Development” Veilleux explained.

On the other side, Western Energy Alliance is not on board with the plan at all.

While they understand subsidies of some type, President Kathleen Sgamma remarked, “That means tax payers are paying for peoples Teslas,” adding that it will be taken out of the middle classes taxes.

“What I am particularly concerned about are the measures that are meant to be punitive against the oil and gas industries,” Sgamma said. “If this bill passes as is it will severely damage Utah’s oil and natural gas industry because most of Utahs industry is on federal land.”

In Utah, the Uintah Basin is the 10th largest producer of oil in the entire country.

“Those counties in the east where oil and gas is a big part of their industry and it would also be detrimental to the Ute tribe,” Sgamma said.

However, HEAL Utah doesn’t think that the bill goes far enough when it comes to oil producers.

“The bill was unfortunately stripped from a lot of penalties as far as the oil and gas industry is concerned," Veilleux said.