PARK CITY, Utah– This past month, several Park City residents flew out to Washington D.C. to lobby our leaders on climate change with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a nation-wide non-profit organization trying to build support in Congress for a bipartisan solution to climate change.
The CCL has six chapters in Utah, and the Wasatch back chapter serves Summit and Wasatch county residents. Through June 11-14th, six members of the CCL’s Wasatch back chapter went to D.C. to lobby members of Congress and discuss possible climate change solutions; Noah Nasser, a recent Park City high school graduate, Montana Burack, a current student at Park City high, Megan McKenna, a teacher at the Park City school district, Tom Moyer, Anne Sowder, and Lauren Barros, the chapter’s president and local Park City resident.
“It was all such a great learning experience and so inspiring to be part of the process. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with my students. So often teaching environmental science can be discouraging and depressing.” Megan McKenna said in a CCL blog post. “Participating in the conference and getting to lobby in D.C. was really empowering and will help me model to my students how citizens can make a difference and address climate change through our democracy.”
This year, the CCL’s priority was lobbying Senators to promote the Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (Forest) act. The Forest act involves long-term actions to restrict goods originating from illegally deforested land. The bill creates an interagency working group to coordinate data sharing and implementation on the bill. The Forest Act not only increases efforts to protect and restore forests globally but also to work closely with other governments to reverse and eliminate illegal deforestation.
The CCL believes that the Forest act will “create a risk-based framework for increasing transparency and reporting in companies’ international supply chains; one year after the bill is enacted, importers must certify they have exercised reasonable care to ensure that goods made were not produced from illegally deforested land.”
Members of the Wasatch back chapter of the CCL have spent time with Utah’s congressional representatives, and the group routinely goes on hikes with Utah Rep. John Curtis. Rep. Curtis and the Wasatch back chapter of the CCL love the outdoors, and are trying to establish connections within Congress to help promote bills that combat climate change.
Barros and crew must have had some impact on Rep. Curtis, as he has established the Conservative Climate Caucus while serving in Congress. The Conservative Climate Caucus (CCC) includes over 50 Congressmen, and educates House Republicans on climate policies and legislation consistent with conservative values.
“I often feel discouraged and frustrated by the slow process of working towards climate solutions…dispirited by the lack of action happening in Congress. But after a few hours of listening to inspiring keynote speakers, talks on climate change, and participating in workshops, I felt my worries fade.” said Park City high school student Montana Burack in a CCL blog post. “Throughout the conference, I struck up conversations with people of various ages, political views, walks of life, and locations about climate change, politics, nature, our communities, and other things as well. National politics had always felt distant to me; a place where influential people who are good at arguing congregate…not me.”
Lawmakers and representatives are starting to listen to climate change demands, thanks in part to folks such as Lauren Barros, Montana Burack, Megan McKenna, and Noah Nasser. Recently, in 2019, Congress introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend act, which is a fee imposed on importers and producers of fossil fuels. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend act is supported by over 9o members of the House, and is a bipartisan solution to climate change, a goal of the CCL. Now, the CCL is working hard on establishing bills to preserve and protect forests and the climate.