Mitt Romney, a Republican senator from Utah, told Leigh Ann Caldwell of The Washington Post that Utah will have to “dramatically reduce” how much water it uses to keep water flowing into the Great Salt Lake.
He also said that a shrinking lake will hurt the whole West. As an example, he said that a bone-dry lake bed would cause toxic dust to spread across the region.
“If it all goes away, the dust will be terrible, not just in Utah but all over the country, and it will be poisonous,” he said. “It’s very important, then, that we make sure that lake doesn’t keep going away.”
Romney said this during a Washington Post Live talk about the country’s plan for dealing with climate change.
The Senate just passed a bill that Romney helped write and that gives millions of dollars to study salt lakes in the Great Basin. But the House hasn’t voted on it yet.
Even though “it hasn’t been studied really thoroughly,” the senator brought up the idea of sending ocean water to the lake through a pipeline. He also talked about studies that take flood water and bring it to places that need water.
He said, “The cost is very high, but it’s being looked at now because conservation can only go so far.”
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Romney also said that he wanted the U.S. to be the world leader in developing technologies to fight climate change. He did this while defending his vote against the Inflation Reduction Act, which was the largest piece of climate legislation ever put in front of a president.
He said that the Democrats could have done a better job if they had worked with the other party to pass the act. Instead, he said, they chose to “put through its agenda without negotiating with the other party.”
“Investments in new technology are an important part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Romney said, “I’m all for those things.” “But I think there were other parts of that act that were wrong.”
Romney thinks that getting the private sector to invest in green research and development is a key part of making America a leader in climate technologies. He was worried that the government was spending a lot of money on national policies that didn’t do anything about climate change on a global scale.
“If every car in the United States stopped running, CO2 emissions around the world would keep going up,” he said. “We can’t just do things that make us feel better here; we have to do things that will be used everywhere.”
The senator criticized Democrats for not passing a carbon tax when they had control of both houses of Congress. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that a carbon tax would be a big step toward lowering emissions, and the senator agreed. He said that the move was “a lost chance.”
Romney is in favor of a tax on carbon, but his fellow Republicans are not. In 2018, Republicans in the House agreed on a resolution that a carbon tax would be “bad for the U.S. economy.”
But the senator thinks he might be able to convince a few Republicans to change their minds when the new Congress starts in January.