At our first UCAIR partners meeting of the new year and decade we heard from two presenters. First, Bryce Bird with the Division of Air Quality talked to us about the upcoming 2020 legislative session and the DAQ’s air quality priorities. We then heard from Marisa Bomis with the Salt Lake Chamber about the Clear the Air Challenge which will be taking place this February.
2020 Legislative and DAQ Annual Preview – Bryce Bird, Executive Director, Division of Air Quality
The staff at Division of Air Quality and Governor Herbert believe in investing in Utah’s air quality through data-driven solutions that are responsive to Utah’s growing population. Our air quality issues are currently being address with a two-prong approach consisting of state leadership and public engagement. The DAQ’s goal is to reduce annual statewide emissions by 100,000 tons by 2026, which is a 25%per capita reduction. To help move the state towards reaching this goal, DAQ has been working to identify and select strategies that generate the greatest pollution reduction at the lowest cost. The Governor is also committed to this goal and has allocated $100 million to fund high-return air-quality improvement projects in his purposed budget. This is the second year that the Governor has purposed such a large investment in air quality. While the total air quality improvements appropriation for Fiscal Year 2020 was short of the purposed $100 million. The approved appropriations totaled $28.7 million, a significant increase over any previous air quality spending.
In addition, to the money for air quality improvement projects the Governor’s purposed budget includes funding for transportation infrastructure that will have a positive impact on Utah’s air quality. Under the Governor’s budget the state transit budget would see a significant increase through the Transportation Investment Fund. These funds would be made accessible through a one-time General Fund transfer in Fiscal Year 2021 and an ongoing recommended change going forward. A heavy investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, including working with the private sector to significantly increase the number of DC fast charging stations throughout the state. Finally, Governor Herbert has purposed a $3 million match for a Utah State University National Science Foundation grant which focuses on electric vehicle transportation. Another important role DAQ plays in the air quality discussion is conducting and funding research. Some of their 2020 research priorities include model performance improvement, pollution transport and dust storm impacts. The Division also administers the Science for Solutions Research Grant, which awards grants for research that focuses on state regulatory and policy goals. DAQ is currently accepting research proposals, there is $500,000 to award to winning proposals. Last year DAQ received 23 proposals and awarded funding to 6 projects.
The Department of Environmental Quality website will host a bill tracker for all DEQ divisions throughout the legislative session.
Clear the Air Challenge – Marisa Bomis, Director, Marketing and Communications, Salt Lake Chamber
The Clear the Air Challenge is entering its eleventh year. Beginning in 2009, the Challenge took place in the summer and focused on ozone. In 2018 the Chamber moved the Challenge to February, to address inversions and PM2.5 pollution during the winter months. Last year a new app, RideAmigos, was introduced. This app allows Challenge participants to track trips on their mobile device. The Chamber also partnered with electric scooter companies to provide an additional alternative to residents wishing to get around the valley without vehicle.
Overall results today:
- 1,171,394 trips eliminated
- 16,316,545 miles saved
- 5,455 tons of CO2 reduced
- $6.9 million saved
Clear the Air Challenge Goals for 2020:
- Reduce 375 tons of CO2 emissions
- Eliminate 100,000 trips
- Save 2,000,000 miles
Registering to participate is easy, just visit the Clear the Air Challenge website.
Following the presentation, partners shared what projects and initiatives they are currently working on. These included:
Justin Smart, Penna Powers – ShowUCAIR Campaign update has had a soft launch of the campaign and are finding that we are quadruple of the click through as compared to industry baseline. The message is not only being seen but people are engaging.
Steve Bergstrom, Intermountain Health Care – Intermountain haseliminated plastic water bottles on campus. Helping to reduce about 3.5 tons of plastics. Working on idle reduction of fleet and trying to move over to hybrid or electric.
Greta DeJong, Catalyst Magazine – The Clean Air Solutions Fair will be March 7.If anyone would like to sponsor or have a booth, please contact Greta.
Thom Carter, UCAIR –
- The Utah Roadmap on climate and air quality from the Gardner Center at the University of Utah is now available.
- Erin Mendenhall attended the January UCAIR Board meeting. The UCAIR board and staff are looking forward to working with her.
- Draper City will be announcing their Idle Free Week on Monday, January 13 at Willow Springs Elementary.
- The ShowUCAIR Annual Summit 2020 will be taking place on February 26 from 6:00-9:00 pm. Instead of a keynote speaker the candidates for governor will participate in a forum on air quality. All six candidates have committed to this event.
NEXT MEETING: February 14, 2020, 9:00-11:00 AM