An historic event will take place at this November’s election when residents cast their vote on the first proposition to ever appear on a Kanab City ballot.

Proposition 1 is the result of the Citizens’ Initiative that many Kanab citizens – many more than legally required – supported when they signed the petition circulated about a year ago. An initiative is the people’s way of creating new laws outside the usual governmental legislative process. Utah’s early leaders, when writing our state constitution, felt very strongly that the people should have the same power to enact laws, as do elected officials. These words appear in that important document:

Article VI, Section 1. [Power vested in Senate, House, and People.]

 (1) The Legislative power of the State shall be vested in:

(a) A Senate and House. . .; and 

(b) the people. . . 

This process is further governed very closely by State Codes (Utah Code 20A-7-501 to 513). An initiative appears on the ballot as a “proposition” because it proposes a new law.

What does this new law say?

Proposition 1 would amend the Kanab City Land Use Ordinances to require voter approval for the building and/or conditional use permits for industry so significant as a coal-gasification or commercial power plant (but not a personal or back-up generator) to be built within the Kanab City limits. Also, if the plant is built, it must be inspected by someone fully qualified and licensed to inspect such facilities to be sure the plant is safe. Proposition 1 does not say that such a plant cannot be built. (The full text and history of the initiative can be read at http://www.kanabprop1.com

This all began as an earmark

Senator Bob Bennett, before leaving office, secured an earmark for a coal gasification plant to be built by Viresco Energy, led by Mr. Jim Guthrie. The Department of Energy (DOE), which oversees the earmark distribution, held two separate public hearings in Kanab. Despite much public controversy, the DOE said that because the issue began in the political arena, it would take a political approach to change it. The Citizens’ Initiative and Proposition 1 allows the people to decide whether politicians should be in charge of such events in Kanab’s future, or if the voters should be allowed to decide about gasification and/or power plants.

A vote “FOR” Proposition 1 gives YOU the right to decide

Your FOR vote this November does only one thing: it makes it possible for the voters of Kanab to decide whether permits for coal-gasification and commercial power plants should be approved. It is important to remember that this is NOT a vote for or against any of these projects. The FOR or AGAINST vote will be taken at a later election, if Proposition 1 is passed.

This November, there is more at stake than just the federal and state office races  

Federal and state offices are certainly important, and everyone should exercise his or her right to vote on them. Proposition 1 will appear at the bottom of the ballot. Please make sure you take the time to find and vote on this important issue. More than anything else, Proposition 1 is about preserving the People’s Right to Vote on issues that significantly affect them and their families.

By Joan Thacher, #1 Sponsor