The community had high hopes for meaningful action during the 2014 Utah Legislative Session on air quality. With the session now at an end, our friends at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality posted a nice summary of the bills that passed.
Here’s a quick overview, head over to their newsletter for the full story.
Legislators directed the Division of Fleet Operations to ensure that 50 percent or more of the state vehicles used to transport passengers will be alternative fuel or high-efficiency by August 30, 2018. View the bill.
A House bill amended the current definition of public utilities to encourage businesses to provide charging stations for electric cars. Another bill provides a state income tax credit of $1500 for the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle and a tax credit allowance for a plug-in electric hybrid. View the bill. Legislation modified The Clean Fuels and Vehicle Technology Act to allow electric-hybrid vehicles to qualify for funding for alternative refueling infrastructure. View the bill.
Wood Burn Program
The Division of Air Quality received funding to educate the public about the dangers of wood smoke and help convert homes whose sole source of heat is wood to natural gas or other clean fuels. View the bill.
Medical Waste Incinerators
A Senate bill banned the incineration of medical waste within close proximity of a school or residential subdivision. View the bill.
Retrofit and Replacement Program
This program will help small businesses and individuals by providing grant and loan funds for emission-reducing technologies, including retrofits, repowers, and replacements. The program will also encourage replacement of snow removal, landscaping, and other yard equipment with cleaner alternatives. View the bill.
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Funding
The Department of Air Quality (DAQ) received a one-time, $1.4 million grant that allocated $1 million for Utah-specific air quality research, $300,000 for an inventory and photochemical modeling study in the Uinta Basin, and $100,000 for volatile organic compound (VOC) infrared testing equipment. DAQ also received $400,000 in ongoing funding for four full-time employees to work on Uinta Basin oil and gas permitting and compliance.
The legislature appropriated $500,000 to DEQ for an air quality public awareness campaign in partnership with existing clean air programs such as UCAIR and TravelWise. DAQ received a one-time, $500,000 appropriation to help convert homes that burn wood as their sole source of heat and a one-time, $250,000 grant to educate the public on the hazards of wood smoke. The Clean Air Retrofit, Replacement, and Off-road Technology (CARROT) program received a one-time grant of $200,000 for grants and loans to small businesses and individuals seeking to reduce the emissions from their heavy-duty diesel or small-engine equipment.
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