Our first partners meeting looked a little different.Our former executive director, Thom Carter, was appointed to the Governor’s Office of Energy Development. To host the meeting in his absence, board member Kerry Kelly joined us. With the legislative session rapidly approaching, we had a legislative preview panel and a presentation on his purposed teleworking bill from Senator Dan McCay. Finally, Bryce Bird was kind enough to join us again with an update from the Division of Air Quality
2021 Legislative Preview Panel- Ashley Miller, Breathe Utah, Jon Cox, Rocky Mountain Power & Andrew Gruber, Wasatch Front Regional Council
The 2021 legislative session session starts on Tuesday, January 19. Representative Handy and Senator Hinkins will be sponsoring HB 017- Utility Permitting Amendments. This amendment would prohibit municipalities and counties from restricting the connection of utility services to customers on the basis of the type of energy the utility service provides. If passed, this would preemptively prevent local municipalities and counties from passing policies that would encourage new construction to use cleaner energy sources, electric heat, electric water heaters, etc. rather than natural gas fired appliances, in order to reduce both criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.
RegardingEV Infrastructure and incentives for EV Infrastructure. Some of the incentives offered have come in part from Rocky Mountain Power and during last year’s session with the passing of HB 396, sponsored by Representative Snow incentives can cover up to 75% of charger costs. Electric vehicle charging will help encourage clean transportation adoption and improve Utah’s air quality. Incentives are available to Utah businesses, communities and multi-unit properties for both Level 2 and DC fast chargers. Residential customers may also qualify for incentives when adding a Level 2 charger to their home. This session the focus will be on EV charging infrastructure to rural areas of Utah. Governor Cox has committed an extra $6 million to EV infrastructure, to help fill in infrastructure gaps. This would mean if you purchase an electric vehicle, you could easily travel throughout Utah and have charging stations available.
Transportation has been a significant source of emissions along the Wasatch Front. In 2020, there was 14.7% decline in emissions due largely from people not driving to work and reduced air traffic. A year into the pandemic road traffic is back to 90% average, though public transportation is still only at 40% of normal usage. In Governor Spencer Cox budget unveiling, he has prioritized transportation by allocating $350 million to double track Front Runner, which would allow run more trains more frequently.
State Telework Legislation – Senator Dan McCay
A study conducted by DHRM found that there was a significant interest amongst state employees in teleworking. Many employees felt more productive working from home.This sessionSenator McCay and Representative Winder are sponsoring, SB 015- Workforce Solutions for Air Quality Amendments. This bill would enact reporting requirements for Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) related to teleworking options for state employees. It would also require DHRM to work with state agencies to provide and measure teleworking options for state employees during bad air days and provide an annual report. The goal is to get 40% of state employees teleworking during the air quality index classified red (unhealthy) days, and 70% teleworking on purple (very unhealthy), and maroon (hazardous) air days. DHRM would be required to provide a report describing the percentage of employees at each state agency that are able to telework in addition to a report of how many employees did telework on red, purple and maroon days the previous fiscal year. Those agencies that have not met the goals must provide impediments to achieving the goals and recommended strategies for achieving the goals in the following year.
Division of Air Quality Update- Bryce Bird, Division of Air Quality
Our 7th high value did not exceed the standard for the 4th year in a row! This is something that we use to exceed 40 times a year. The ozone regulation haze plan will focus on greenhouse gas emissions requirements. There will be an announcement of a bill in the legislature to merge DEQ and DNR. Under this proposal, DAQ’s enforcement role would remain unchanged.
PARTNER ROUND TABLE
Following the presentation, partners shared what projects and initiatives they are currently working on. These included:
Corbin Anderson, Salt Lake County Health Department- The health department will be installing16 EV charging stations at the environmental health building and will be replacing 70 hybrid fleet vehicles with fully electric models.
Angelo Papastamos, UDOT-Travelwise- The Clear the Air Challenge, brought to you by the Salt Lake Chamber, UDOT-Travelwise and UCAIR will begin on February 1st, 2021. To participate you can register on the event website.
Chase Wilson, Weber State University: Registration is now open for the 2021 Intermountain Sustainability Summit. This year’s Summit will be held virtually on March 18th and 19th.
NEXT MEETING: February 12, 2021, 9:00-10:30 AM