Alumni in the News

Representative R. Curt Webb – B.A., Business Administration, 1986

Herald Journal

Sen. Lyle Hillyard was one of five senators who received 100 percent scores from the Utah Sierra Club for their voting records on environmental legislation during the last session. Hillyard — who wasn’t aware he had received the high score until an interview with The Herald Journal — said his approach with bills is to just do what he thinks is right. “I’m just me,” he added, explaining that he takes each bill separately and looks at as many aspects of it as possible. Lobbyists have not contacted Hillyard on environmental bills one way or the other, he said, so they have not played a role. Other local representatives got high grades, but Hillyard was the only one to receive 100 percent. Rep. Jack Draxler, R-Logan, as well as Rep. Ed Redd, R-Logan, received 88 percent. Rep. Rhonda Menlove, R-Logan, received 57 percent, and Rep. Curt Webb, R-Logan, received 50 percent. Dan Mayhew, the chairman of the Utah Chapter Sierra Club, said the process for selecting these grades is based on the legislators’ responses to bills that could have a positive effect on the environment. “It’s not real complicated or as scientific as it could or should be,” he said. “But I think it’s pretty indicative of the legislators’ positions on environmental issues.” This year’s scorecards did not include exclusively clean air bills. Bills involving water, public lands and expanding voter registration also helped make the final decision, he said, but clean air dominated attention. There were approximately six bills this session that dealt directly with cleaning Utah’s air, and three of them passed. “Bills passed this session will diminish the toll on human health wrought by wood burning and new medical waste incinerators,” Mayhew said. “However, we will be looking to advance some of the bills that didn’t make it through the process in 2015.” The Sierra Club has helped advance environmental legislation like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. The organization was founded in 1892 by prominent conservationist John Muir. With more than 2 million members and supporters, it is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental group.