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Lawmakers consider several bills to help prevent air pollution

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 9:20pm

SALT LAKE CITY — This is one of the weeks that Utah's air is an instant turn off: For people who live in Utah, and for those visiting. In a KUED news conference, Goveror Herbert seemed as frustrated about the poor air quality as anyone else.

"I get it," Herbert said. "We just need to find rational, reasonable ways to address it."

With the Capitol sitting in the midst of the haze, Utah's lawmakers said they're swamped with emails demanding a solution. A group of Legislators gathered this week to unveil a list of bills they hope will make a difference.

"I think the Legislature will take meaningful action," said Patrice Arent, Rep. D-Millcreek. "We're going to look at all these bills. Some of them are expensive. We want to see where we can get the most bang for the buck, where we can make the most difference. I do think you'll see a lot of these bills pass the session."

Taking on vehicle emissions is a major opportunity, since most of the bad air can be attributed to that. Lawmakers want tougher standards on emissions testing, and incentives to get people to convert their gas vehicles to burn cleaner fuel. There is also a bill creating tax incentives to participate in a 'ride Share'.

Lawmakers said they want Utahns to realize that together everyone can make a difference. One proposal would create a public awareness campaign; to crack down on wood burning, and to tailor air quality standards to Utah's unique geography.

Other bills create tax credits for using public transportation. And there is a specific bill to fund cleaner school buses and maintenance equipment.

"It's going to take everyone — individuals," Herbert said. "We can't just keep pointing to somebody else to fix the problem. It really is going to be all of us working together if we're serious about cleaning up the air."

Richard Piatt

    KSL Weather Forecast