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Posts tagged ‘department of air quality’

Take the Clear the Air Challenge and Improve Air Quality At Home

February is (finally!) here! And that means that the Clear the Air Challenge has begun!

In the last few years, Utahns have worked together to improve air quality in the Salt Lake Valley. Early last year, the EPA announced Salt Lake City and Provo were in compliance with federal standards for PM 2.5, the fine particulate matter that pollutes our air quality along the Wasatch Front. This significant milestone came after years of community wide work to take action to clear the air.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed our air quality, too. Efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve resulted in considerable reductions in PM 2.5 and other air pollutants, up to a 59% reduction in particulate matter by May 2020.

In 2020, we learned that the steps we took to slow coronavirus cases resulted in quick changes to our air quality. COVID-19 continues to threaten our community’s health and economic security, resulting in increased social inequities. Many of the changes we’ve made in this crisis are not sustainable in the long term. However, our work to improve Salt Lake City’s resiliency includes taking actions that support public health and security, and that address environmental issues like air quality.

Clear the air challenge banner. A photo of the wasatch front in winter shows clear blue sky. Text reads "Take the Clear the Air Challenge February 1st-28th."

This month, we challenge Salt Lake City community members to participate in the 12th annual Clear the Air Challenge! The Clear the Air Challenge is a chance to level up your efforts to improve air quality. The Challenge runs the entire month of February, chosen due to the seasonal inversion that makes wintertime air quality especially bad. However, the steps you take this month can make a difference for our air all year long.

For many of us who are still spending more time at home, the challenge will feel a little different this year. We’ve put together some helpful facts, tips, and inspiration to get you going on the 2021 Clear the Air Challenge!

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Salt Lake City Unveils 8 New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Mayor Jackie Biskupski “unveils” the latest electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Salt Lake City, April 22, 2019.

Salt Lake City recently unveiled the latest electric vehicle (EV) public charging infrastructure.

These stations increase the total number of City-owned public EV charging ports to 38 plus 16 at the Airport, and complement an even more robust charging network available throughout the city.

The newest Level 2 EV charging ports opened last month at three separate Salt Lake City locations: Mountain Dell Golf Course, the Regional Athletic Complex, and on-street parking on 500 South, just south of The Leonardo.

“Electrifying transportation is one of the most meaningful ways we can tackle air quality problems in the Salt Lake Valley,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The City applauds the many residents and businesses investing in electric vehicles and is pleased to offer charging opportunities for these clean air champions.”

Funding for the project was provided in part by a grant from the Utah Division of Air Quality, building off the initial installation of 28 ports in 2017.

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Air Quality Bills: 2014 Legislature Wrap Up

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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.

State Fleet

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.

Electric Vehicles

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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