As the Western Climate Initiative rolls out a work plan for developing the details of a regional carbon cap-and-trade program, two of its member states appear ready to bolt the organization over concerns about the cost of cutting emissions. In another state, lawmakers earlier this month tabled legislation aimed at preparing for WCI. In Utah, a bill that would require the governor to withdraw from the WCI sailed through a key state legislative committee February 13. Amendments to soften the measure--H.R. 3 by state Republican Representative Michael Noel--were turned down with little discussion on a 7-3 vote. In Arizona a Republican lawmaker in the state Legislature introduced a similar bill calling for the state to simply pull out of the initiative. Combined, the two states emit about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that would be covered under the Western Climate Initiative, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada data. Montana, where WCI implementation legislation is being held up, emits about another 3 percent of the emissions from WCI\u2019s participants. The organization includes seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. Five state governors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, formed the Western Initiative in February 2007. Its members plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade market. In Arizona, the prospects for passage and enactment of the pullout bill in the Republican-dominated Legislature increased with the ascension of Republican Jan Brewer to the governorship. The former Arizona secretary of state replaced Democrat Janet Napolitano when President Obama appointed her to head the federal Department of Homeland Security. Napolitano had backed curbing carbon emissions. The new governor, in her first policy move, issued a freeze on what she called all \u201cnew regulatory burdens.\u201d Brewer said the freeze is aimed at making Arizona \u201cthe most economically vibrant place in the world.\u201d Arizona Representative Andy Biggs, a Republican representing a suburban area east of Phoenix, is sponsoring the WCI pullout bill, HB 2467. Biggs could not be reached for comment, but he told the Arizona Capitol Times February 13 that he is concerned a carbon cap-and-trade program would hurt state businesses. Biggs also predicted that greenhouse gas restrictions would drive California businesses to relocate to Arizona. Arizona Sierra Club director Sandy Bahr said the fate of the bill may well depend upon how the state\u2019s utilities line up. If they support the measure, she said it easily could be enacted. If they oppose it because they want to have a seat at the WCI table, it may not be enacted, she said. In Utah, Representative Noel said February 13 at a House Public Utilities and Technology Committee hearing on his measure that a carbon cap-and-trade program would prevent development of oil and gas wells, costing the state and its residents as much as a $1 billion a year. \u201cAnything to do with fossil fuel--producing oil, gas, and coal--is within the sights of this entity [i.e., WCI],\u201d the Republican told state lawmakers. Randy Parker, Utah Farm Bureau chief executive officer, predicted a cap-and-trade program would create \u201ca supply shock,\u201d similar to the Arab oil embargo during the 1970s, causing the price of energy to soar. He criticized the state\u2019s plan to pursue a cap-and-trade program in the absence of any significant economic analysis. Supporters of the measure cited a study by the Deseret Power Electric Cooperative claiming that if Utah participated in the proposed WCI carbon cap-and-trade program the public power agency\u2019s residential rates could soar by as much as $4,000 a year. Other witnesses at the Utah legislative committee hearing questioned the science of global warming. Utah state energy advisor Diane Nelson pleaded with lawmakers not to pass the bill, but instead stay in the WCI. She said controlling greenhouse gases could be a stimulus to the state\u2019s economy, particularly when it comes to developing renewable energy resources. Environmental groups echoed her remarks. After their remarks, the committee approved the bill without discussion. In Utah, the Republican Party holds about three-fourths of the seats in both chambers and the governor, Jon Huntsman, also is a Republican. However, Huntsman has been supportive of the WCI process. In Montana, a committee in the Legislature\u2019s lower chamber tabled a bill to require monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by major industries. The bill also would have required the state to prepare a report by 2010 on how to implement a carbon cap (Circuit, Jan. 30, 2009). Monitoring of emissions is to begin in 2010 under WCI, with annual reports on emissions filed with states beginning in 2011.