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Idle free: SLC looking to criminalize excess idling

Idle free: SLC looking to criminalize excess idling


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Cleaning up the air is an on-going effort that's starting with a unified effort to go 'idle free'. More cities are joining Salt Lake City's no-idle campaign.

One look at the air some days in Utah, and most people would say they'd do anything to clean it up. At the airport's park and ride lot --a prime spot for idling --an anti-idling ordinance sounds like a good idea to a couple of the people here.

"I think it's certainly necessary. I think it's a good thing to do that, I really do," said Pat Darcey, of Kamas.

"I think everything makes a difference, so I think this is a way to start, definitely," said Pam Radent, of Sandy.

In fact, there are some pretty bad days in some cities in Utah. Air quality is a top issue, yet an easy solution is elusive.

"We have a real problem with PM 2.5, especially in the winter, and Ozone in the summer, and those things are exacerbated by people idling," Mat Carlile of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Salt Lake City is actually looking to criminalize excess idling. Eventually, a they could issue a citation if you sit with your engine running for too long, except under certain weather conditions.

At Mountain View Elementary school, young people seem to be on board.

"Turn your key be idle free."

It's a state-wide effort. Other cities and counties joined the chorus of Mountain View students today.

"It's a small thing, but that's what it's going to take -a lot of small things by individuals," Mayor Peter Corroon said.

But there are critics. Some feel anti-idling doesn't make a difference -that sitting at poorly timed traffic lights is worse.

Officials respond: One thing at a time.

"We're looking at everything we can do: looking at mass transit, show people there are options," said Vicki Bennett, Office of Sustainability.

The DEQ says the haze we're seeing today is from a fire; the kind of thing that will bring Ozone later in the day. Exhaust only adds onto the gunk, the type of situation that just makes a bad situation worse.

Email: rpiatt@ksl.com

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