Utah has become infamous for our pollution, especially during inversion season when our cities have some of the worst air quality in the nation. The harm is real and affects nearly every Utahn. Our dirty air means children can’t play outside, causes pregnancy complications, leads to premature death, and scares companies and families from relocating to our otherwise beautiful state.
Air quality is complicated and requires a multi-pronged solution. As governor, I will give the Division of Air Quality the tools they need, work with industries to find mutually beneficial solutions, and reduce personal and vehicle emissions.
Utah Solutions for Utah Problems
Politicians have consistently and purposefully tied the hands of the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to prevent them from cleaning our air. The legislature refuses to allow our state agency to adopt regulations specific to the unique needs of Utah, and instead will only allow enforcement of federal minimum standards. This must be stopped. The DAQ is also consistently underfunded and can’t afford enough enforcement officers to catch the cheaters. Polluters know they are unlikely to be caught, and even if they are, it will take years for an investigation to turn into prosecution. Once elected, I will fight to increase DAQ funding to let polluters know we will no longer tolerate their actions.
Industry Solutions and a Move to Renewable Sources
As your governor, I will look out for the needs of all Utahns, not the special interests that tell the legislature and governor what to do. I also recognize that we need to work with, not against, the energy industry to improve our air while ensuring quality jobs for Utah residents.
We can not and should not walk away coal and oil industries overnight, but it is foolish to think these energy sources will be able to continue to power the globe. Rural Utah in particular stands to play a powerful role in creating the next generation of energy production if we make the right decisions today. Instead of sending $54 million to California for a coal port, we should be investing in solar and other forms of renewable energy.
Reducing Personal and Vehicular Emissions
As governor, I will create incentives to encourage state employees to walk, bike, or take public transportation to work. When state vehicles need to be replaced, we should purchase electric vehicles. I will also work upgrade the infrastructure of state buildings, ensure that all new state buildings are LEED certified, and work with the legislature to expand incentive programs to replace inefficient home appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, and two-stroke engines with more efficient systems.
There is also much we can do to reduce vehicle emissions, a primary source of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. It needs to be easier for Utahns to take public transportation, but funds are lacking. I support and will advocate for initiatives that allow counties to raise money they need to increase UTA funding to increase the frequency of common bus routes, ensure adequate parking at TRAX stops, and offer free fares on red air days. We can also reduce pollution at the gas pump by moving to Tier 3 gas more quickly and requiring vapor collectors, steps many states have already taken.