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Lawmaker calls clean air bill 'painful' but 'appropriate'



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SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, is continuing his efforts from last year to “put pressure on government” to help cleanse Utah’s air.

The pressure may have been too much, however, because the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee held his bill Friday, concerned about stresses it would place on state and local government entities.

“This is something I’d like to see us do, but it needs to be done with as little pain as possible,” said Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, adding he supported the motion to hold the bill so the committee could “continue dialogue.”

SB69 would require at least 50 percent of all new or replacement government vehicles to be alternative-fuel or high-efficiency. The bill would expand upon Jenkins’ passed legislation from last year, SB99, which applied the same requirements to at least 50 percent of state government-purchased passenger vehicles.

The committee voiced worries about the fiscal pressure the bill might place on government entities, as well as the practicality of its requirements. Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, expressed concerns about how difficult it may be for some rural cities to maintain alternate-fuel vehicles, with limited access to special fuel stations.

Hinkins also said he would "hate to see” lawmakers “inflict” the air quality issue on Utahns who live outside of the afflicted area.

Jenkins said he understood his proposal was “a little painful.”

“I feel like (government) is an appropriate place to put that pressure on,” Jenkins said. "I figure, if you can’t convert the government, we’ll never convert ourselves.” Email: kmckellar@deseretnews.com

Katie McKellar

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