The creativity of those opposed to new coal plants seems to have no bounds. The most recent effort is to place a referendum on the ballot to allow citizens to vote whether a permit should be issued for a new coal plant in Utah. The referendum would amend the county’s conditional-use permit ordinance to require voter approval prior to issuing permits for coal-fired power plants.
In a effort to block this type of referendum effort, the Utah Legislature passed H.B. 53 which says that the voters of any county, city or town may not initiate a land use ordinance or a change in a land use ordinance. The Legislature also said that the people may not require a land use ordinance passed by the local legislative body (city council or county commission) to be submitted to the voters for approval before it can take effect (i.e. a referendum).
A lower court blocked the referendum, but the Supreme Court of Utah said it should be placed on the ballot. Here is my favorite observation… a company representative said that getting a permit for a coal-fired power plant these days "is not for the faint of heart."
As I have commented in prior posts, a top priority of those concerned with climate change is to stop construction of new coal fired power plants, almost through any means necessary. We have seen a call for citizen protests, various lawsuits filed, appeals of permits, legislation and now a proposal to let citizens vote on whether a permit should be issued.
(Photo: Flickr Jeffreyd00)