On Tuesday, April 2, Mayor Biskupski appeared before the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change to discuss how a warming planet is affecting Salt Lake City– from our air quality, to wildfires, to drought, to the ski industry, and more.
To see the full testimony, watch the video below (Mayor Biskupski begins at roughly 2:40:40)
See news coverage here:
Deseret News:Salt Lake City mayor urges action on climate change in testimony before congressional committee
Salt Lake Tribune:Biskupski touts Salt Lake City’s efforts to address climate change and urges the federal government to step up
KSL:Salt Lake City mayor urges action on climate change in testimony before congressional committee
KUER:Salt Lake City Mayor: Cities Are Already Fighting Climate Change, Now Washington Needs To Step Up
Her written testimony is included below. Also check out her 5-minute remarks on the Mayor’s site.
FULL WRITTEN TESTIMONY
Mayor Jacqueline M. Biskupski Testimony before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change April 2, 2019
Thank you for welcoming me here today, and for taking the time to hear from local elected officials on the topic of climate change.
My name is Jackie Biskupski. I’m proud to serve as Mayor for the 200,000 residents of Salt Lake City—a position I’ve had since 2016. I’m also Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Alliance for a Sustainable Future—a committee dedicated to forging connections between the public and private sectors to collaboratively tackle our environmental challenges. I’m also co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy coalition, and a member of Climate Mayors and Women 4 Climate.
Salt Lake City is a majestic and special place. Over 25 years ago, I came to Utah for a ski trip and I never left! We are the crossroads of the west and are blessed to have world-class recreation, breathtaking natural splendors, a strong economy, a vibrant culture, and a collaborative spirit.
Today I am here to discuss what we are already experiencing in Salt Lake City, and how we are working tremendously hard to avoid the worst effects that are projected. But we need your help.
Wildfire in Federal Heights, July 6th. Courtesy of the Salt Lake City Fire Department.
by Talula Pontuti, SLCgreen intern
For weeks, we have experienced wildfires across the state, primarily in the southern part of Utah, where firefighters are fighting tirelessly to protect communities and landscapes.
Those fires have not only destroyed homes, habitats, and landscapes, but the fires are contributing to poor air quality in those areas and throughout Utah.
In addition, fireworks from the Fourth of July increase particulate matter, aggravating respiratory conditions for those with preexisting respiratory and heart illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease.
Combine the fires and fireworks with ozonecreated by vehicle and product pollution – and we have the perfect mix for poor air quality.
Understanding what is going on and what our impacts are on air quality in our city is critical to being able to keep people healthy and having fun this summer. Read more
SLCgreen staff member Tyler Poulson on a tour of a large solar farm in Parowan, Utah, 2015.
Check out Tyler Poulson, Salt Lake City’s sustainability program manager, on the HEAL Utah podcast! He chats with HEAL’s Matt Pacenza about several key climate and energy issues including Utah Climate Week, coming up October 8-14. Tyler also offers his take on the recent rooftop solar settlement reached between Rocky Mountain Power and other stakeholders.
Organized by the Utah Climate Action Network, Utah Clean Energy, and Salt Lake City, Climate Week will provide an inspiring opportunity for community members to learn of the risks and breakthrough solutions to climate change.
Mayor Biskupski will offer opening remarks on our Climate Positive goals and SLCgreen team member Tyler Poulson will participate on the panel discussing what cities in Utah are doing to transition to clean energy. Other panelists include HEAL Utah, the Sierra Club, and Rocky Mountain Power. Utah Clean Energy will moderate the discussion.
With all of the storms, hurricanes, and wildfires hitting our country this fall, we need to take the opportunity of September being Emergency Preparedness Month to prepare for and mitigate climate change.
Read the op-ed published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City’s directors of Sustainability and Emergency Preparedness.
By Vicki Bennett and Cory Lyman
September is Emergency Preparedness Month.
While Utahns traditionally take important measures to prepare for sudden natural disasters such as earthquakes, we also need to think about taking mitigating action for climate-related events such as extreme flooding, changing water supplies, wildfire and heat waves.
This need is amplified by the awful pictures we see of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and the destruction they have wrought. In Texas alone initial estimates are putting the damage at over $180 billion – that is billion, with a “b” – and we can’t start to comprehend numbers like that.
Scientists have been warning us for years that a warming climate increases the strength of storms like these — larger, powerful and devastating to our communities.
One month before Harvey hit, Salt Lake City experienced our own 200-year storm. .
On Monday, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development issued news that a significant agreement had been reached between parties previously at odds over how to move forward with rooftop solar development in Utah.
The main point of contention was how to compensate rooftop solar owners for the excess electricity they sell back to the utility. In November 2016, Rocky Mountain Power proposed a change in their rate structure that could make it more difficult for homeowners to afford solar panels.
Because Salt Lake City is committed to advancing clean energy and supports the growth in rooftop solar, we opposed the proposed changes to the rate structure. In other states, notably Nevada, where similar changes have taken effect, the solar industry has imploded.
At about the same time, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development stepped in, outside of the formal Public Service Commission process, to try and broker an agreement on this thorny issue. Read more