SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers have passed a bill that would give refineries a $1.8 million tax break incentive to produce cleaner fuel.
The House on Wednesday voted 72-0 to pass SB197, which expands a sales tax exemption for refineries that produce cleaner Tier 3 fuels. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for consideration.
The bill's House sponsor, House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, called the bill a "monumental" step toward cleaning up Utah's air.
"It's a big and important step in the right direction," Wilson said.
If all Utah drivers used Tier 3 fuel, it would be the equivalent of removing 4 out of 5 cars, he said. Vehicles produce half of the air pollution along the Wasatch Front, Wilson said.
"This is a very important piece of legislation for clean air," said Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek.
Arent said the bill would not only help encourage production of Tier 3 fuel but also help older Tier 2 cars reduce pollution.
"For what it's going to cost per ton reduction, this is also going to give us good bang for our buck," she said.
It's estimated that SB197 will cost the state $2.1 million a year starting in 2019, according to the bill's fiscal note.
An earlier version of the bill called for a $60 million tax break for manufacturers, but it was amended to make it more palatable to lawmakers.
— Katie McKellar