Leading environmental advocacy group weighs in on race for Salt Lake City mayor

Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – The race to lead Utah's capital city is a tight one and the Sierra Club of Utah has cast its vote.


"We salute her interest and her passion for the environment," said Sierra Club of Utah Manager, Mark Clemens.


But the organization is unanimously backing Mayor, Ralph Becker over Challenger, Jackie Biskupski.


"We are confident that another four years of Mayor Becker would mean real protections for the Wasatch and real protections for the important water shed there, as well as clean air and clean energy," said Clemens.


Along with that endorsement Becker stood at Sugar House Park with supporters of the environmental community to talk about his platform.


Becker says voters can look to the Mountain Accord to see the difference between the two.


"My opponent says she opposes the results of that effort," said Becker.


He says it's the greatest example of collaboration he's seen.


"My belief and the belief of all of these people that have been involved in looking out for the future of these mountains is that if I'm elected we will pursue it and we will be successful. If my opponent is elected that coalition falls apart," said Becker.


Biskupski says that just isn't the case.


"I have no intention of dismantling the Mountain Accord. But to approach these plans without the appropriate amount of caution would be a failure of leadership," said Biskupski in a written statement.


Election day is November 3, 2015, but this is a vote by mail election.


Ballots will start going out next week.


Full statement from Biskupski:


It is clear that the mayor intends to take a negative tone for the remainder of the campaign. Rather than present new ideas, it appears he intends to misrepresent my positions and use fear as a political tactic. I believe that voters are smart enough to see right through that.


Mayor Becker would have us believe that Mountain Accord is his crowning achievement. He is highly critical of anyone sharing concerns, and he paints my critiques as anti-watershed and anti-conservation. Nothing could be further from the truth.


I have no intention of dismantling the Mountain Accord. But to approach these plans without the appropriate amount of caution would be a failure of leadership.


The mayor issued a challenge to voters that if they really care about the mountains they should think about the person who says she loves the mountains and think about the person who is working to protect them.


The mayor is right, I do love the mountains. I love them enough to be suspicious of any plan that wants to drill a hole through the mountain. This plan is aspirational at this stage, and leaves the hard work ahead to ensure the land transfers take place, the wilderness is federally protected, and our delicate watershed is preserved.”

In response to the Sierra Club endorsement:


I understand how difficult endorsements decisions are for any organization to make. The email I received from the Sierra Club included the following statement:


Jackie's record as an environmental advocate is very solid, and we were impressed by her independent and thoughtful plans for the environment.”


While I am disappointed that I didn’t receive their official endorsement, I believe this statement speaks volumes about the work I have done and will continue to do.”

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