Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, is an anachronism. That is, as Webster tells us, "Anything that is or seems to be out of its proper time in history."

He's a throwback to a simpler era, when there was less to worry about from the global effects of the industrial revolution, before humans became a threat to the delicate balance of nature on which our world depends for survival.

And he stubbornly refuses to make the leap into the 21st century.

We can understand his reluctance. Coming to grips with how destructive some human activities are to our environment -- including unrestricted use of all-terrain vehicles, oil drilling, production of oil from shale and the millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other chemicals spewed into our air every day -- can be unpleasant.

But as an elected official with the power to help make public policy, Noel's dogged determination to keep his head firmly in the sand is irresponsible. And his irritating habit of bellowing about his backward notions is unseemly.

Noel believes Utah's natural resources, and the world's, can be plundered at will without consequences. He says humans' burning of fossil fuel has nothing to do with climate change that has begun to take a toll in shrinking snowpack, hotter summers, drought and dwindling water supplies. In that, he is at odds with thousands of climate scientists and responsible world leaders who agree that CO2 is a major cause of global warming. He's in the camp of those who compare environmentalists to Osama bin Laden and has signed a contract to hand over Green River water to nuclear reactors.

Noel's latest attempt at shouting down those who try to protect our health and environment from fossil-fuel pollution and misguided energy and commercial development is House Bill 379. The measure would require a bond from groups or individuals that act to halt or delay such projects, ostensibly to compensate a developer or government if the delay causes it to lose money.

HB379 is nonsensical and probably unconstitutional. How much does Noel think someone should have to pay in order to exercise their right to take an issue to court -- $1,000? $100,000? $1 million?

Noel says "It's to go after the environmental groups," but HB379 could also violate the rights of citizens who want to keep polluting power plants out of their neighborhoods, and anyone else who legally protests projects that might harm the environment -- air, water, public open space and wildlife habitat -- that Utah's economy and our well-being depends on.