Senate candidate bicycles across Utah on campaign for environmental responsibility
by Charli Engelhorn
contributing writer
Sep 13, 2012 | 1186 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Independent senate candidate Bill Barron speaks with Moab residents during a stop this week at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. Photo by Charli Engelhorn
Independent senate candidate Bill Barron speaks with Moab residents during a stop this week at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. Photo by Charli Engelhorn
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A handful of local residents turned out last night at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center to hear Bill Barron speak about his single-issue platform to create renewable energy and control climate change in the United States. Barron is running as an Independent candidate to represent Utah in the U.S. Senate.

Barron stopped in Moab as part of a 1,200-mile bike ride across the state to promote his campaign. During his stops, Barron is urging citizens to unite and address what he calls “the most urgent issue of our time,” human-caused climate change.

“I have always loved nature and being in the environment. But I wanted to become someone who not just loved the outdoors, but someone who is giving back to them,” Barron said. “I saw running for Senate as a great opportunity to talk about solutions for our country and state regarding carbon emissions and creating jobs in our economy.”

Barron moved to Utah in 1990 to work at the Alta Ski Resort. For the next 19 years, he worked as ski patrol at the resort, deputy marshal for the town of Alta, and started an art gallery and frame shop. In 2009, he created a non-profit organization called Renewable Energy Resources as a way to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. He then chose to collaborate with Citizens Climate Lobby, a non-partisan, non-profit group that supported federal legislation known as “fee and dividend” to address the issue of human-related climate change. This legislation became the focus of Barron’s campaign platform.

“This is the most direct and transparent approach to dealing with our impact on the natural world. There has to be a connection between politics and nature,” Barron said.

He proposes requiring a fee of $15 for each ton of carbon emitted at the source of fossil fuel production facilities, collecting that money, and distributing it equally to American citizens. Barron said he sees this as a way to increase incentive for the creation of more renewable energy options and improving air and water quality, as well as human health in our nation.

“By increasing the price at the source, the price to the consumer will increase, and clean energy and methods for energy efficiency will become more and more competitive. That is the incentive that we need,” Barron said. “Rather than the government dictating where that money is spent, it would go directly back to the consumer. We want policy that appeals to a broad population.”

According to current statistics and Barron’s theory, if a $15 fee were to be collected per ton of carbon emissions in 2012, the number would reach approximately $81.3 billion. Dividing that number among the estimated 316.5 million American citizens would result in a return of $257. The fees would increase by $10 each year thereafter.

“Obviously, the odds are against me, but I am running for what I stand for in the hopes it might make a point in the Senate and start the conversation,” Barron said. “I want people to be able to take this message out and share it with their friends and family. It is unfair to our current and future generations not to do something about this danger to our environment.”

Local resident and recycling advocate Sara Melnicoff was in attendance and asked how to get past the fact that so many people involved with the oil and gas companies are involved in politics.

“Enough people have to say it’s not okay. If not, we are not creating an opening for change to happen,” Barron said. “If we keep thinking there is nothing we can do, then nothing will ever change. I want to be part of those people who make that change.”

Barron’s next stop is in Monticello, Utah on Sept. 13.

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