Sara Ma knew from the start it would be an uphill battle to get her state leaders to start thinking about climate change.
The West High senior, along with other members of the iMatter youth campaign, had already marched to the state Capitol. Their petition to get state agencies to begin to account for climate change in their lawmaking had been rejected. And their education efforts before the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration had fallen flat.
In short, nothing happened. That’s not a surprise in a state where leaders have consistently rejected climate science, she reasoned. So, they regrouped.
"Being in Utah," Ma said, "we need to start smaller."
And, when the group began meeting with legislators about their proposal for a bill, they were pleased to find someone in the dominant GOP who was willing to work with them.
Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, has opened a bill file for legislation that would examine how climate change is expected to drive more and bigger wildfires and to begin planning for future wildfire fighting and suppression costs.