On Monday, the Utah House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution urging the U.S. Senate to give its advice and consent for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The resolution, HR4, was introduced by Democratic Representative Jennifer Seelig, and co-sponsored by Republican Representative Ryan Wilcox, Democrat Trisha Beck, and Republican Rebecca Edwards.
Several Utahns spoke in favor of the test ban at hearing on the resolution, including a "downwinder" whose family had died due to nuclear testing-related effects.
The nonbinding Utah House resolution notes that the CTBT will curb the advanced development of nuclear weapons worldwide and that nuclear weapons test explosions are no longer needed to maintain the reliability and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Rep Wilcox cited Ambassador Linton Brooks' argument that "the ratification of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty will help preserve our superiority in this field, throughout the world. The test [monitoring] network that thas been put into place throughout the world is already more than 80% complete. In fact the tests that were conducted in both 2006 and 2009 by North Korea were immediately detected by the network. The treaty allows for the placement of the network withing countries that right now aren't so friendly to us, including China, Russia, and Iran, and the ratification of that treaty helps us to ensure that no further development takes place toward a nuclear weapon."
The resolution and the debate on the floor of the legislature recognized the far-reaching health effects suffered by Utahns and other downwinders exposed to fallout from nuclear testing in the past.
As Rep. Beck concluded, "preventing nuclear testing by detonation in the future is the best way of memorializing those who have make the ultimate sacrifice in the past."
The Utah House resolution follows several recent opinion pieces on the CTBT in Utah newspapers (including an op-ed by former Senator Jake Garn) and a visit to Utah by prominent Republican, Ambassador Linton Brooks.