Controversial Co2 Bill Put on Backburner | Buzz Blog
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Controversial Co2 Bill Put on Backburner

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Saying the seas wouldn't rise if the polar ice cap melted and that loads of Co2 doesn't make it hard to breath, Rep. Jerry Anderson, R-Price, tried to persuade his colleagues to support a bill that would have defined carbon as a pollutant only after it reached beyond levels that scientists say would fundamentally shift the earth's climate.---

Wielding his five decades of science teaching experience, Anderson held up a plastic bottle filled with water to demonstrate that because the polar ice cap is “floating,” it would not drown coastal cities and towns in the event that it melted.

“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, carbon dioxide does not cause the inversion, carbon dioxide does not make it harder to breathe. ...” Anderson said. “Carbon dioxide is not a contaminant.”

Anderson's House Bill 229, which was ultimately set aside for further study by the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee, would have specified that Co2 and other naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere wouldn't be deemed contaminants until topping 500ppm.

The dangerous gas radon, present as a nontoxic naturally occurring gas in Anderson's first draft, was written out of the bill.

With the atmosphere's current Co2 level hovering around 400ppm, many scientists say hitting the 500ppm level would be nothing short of catastrophic.

Anderson, though, said greenhouses pump up levels of Co2 to grow the petunias he buys at Walmart. And he said Utah's parched deserts could benefit from the higher Co2 levels, like those present “eons” ago. Anderson even quoted Robert Frost's poem, “Fire and Ice,” to open his presentation.

The committee, however, was unmoved. Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, asked Anderson if the bill would do anything.

“There's really no effect,” Anderson replied.

Seeming annoyed that the committee tossed out his bill, Anderson said he hoped any further studies reveal how it's possible for the Huntington Power Plant in his district to burn only 2 million tons of coal and produce 8 million tons of emissions.

This comment prompted outbursts from audience members. One said he couldn’t believe Anderson was a science teacher and the other said, “It's Co2!”

To read HB 229, click here. To contact Rep. Anderson, click here. To find your representative using your address, click here. For more coverage of the legislature visit CityWeekly.net and follow @ColbyFrazierLP and @EricSPeterson on Twitter.