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.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a historic resolution that establishes support from the nation’s mayors for the goal of moving to 100 percentclean and renewable energy in cities nationwide.
Resolution 36 was co-sponsored by Mayor Biskupski and Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. It specifically cites wind, solar, geothermal, and wave technology as renewable sources cities should be embracing to combat climate change.
Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski and a coalition of U.S. mayors joined with the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign in a new effort to engage and recruit mayors to endorse a goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy in cities throughout the country.
The initiative, “Mayors for 100% Clean Energy,” is led by Mayor Biskupski; Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine; Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin; and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The mayors function as co-chairs of the effort.
Salt Lake City announced its 100 percent goal last July when the Mayor and City Council passed a joint resolution establishing the goals of transitioning the community’s electricity supply to 100 percent clean energy by 2032, followed by an overall reduction of community greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2040. Read more
Today the American Lung Association released its 17th annual State of the Air report, which ranks the air quality in our nation’s cities and counties. Salt Lake City, Provo and Orem ranked 6th for short-term particulate exposure.
Mayor Biskupski has announced an aggressive air quality platform that aims to drastically reduce pollution through improving energy efficiency in buildings, increasing use of renewable energy like solar, sourcing cleaner vehicles, and creating a robust clean air network focused on advancing clean air legislation.
Join the City of Salt Lake and do your part to reduce pollution!
Take action even on voluntary air days.This is when we have the best chance to keep our air cleaner, longer – especially when we know that an inversion has set up in the valley.
Skip and reduce trips.
Aim to leave your car parked, one more day a week. Modern vehicles emit the vast majority of trip pollution in those first two minutes on the road. Skipping car trips by using public transportation, arranging a carpool or other alternatives make a measurable impact.
On days you must drive, chain your trips together to reduce “cold start” pollution.
Explore Salt Lake City on public transit.Ride UTA can help you plan your next transit adventure.
Weatherize your home, and cash in on Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Adding insulation and upgrading your windows will not only save you money on your utility bills, it will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Upgrade your furnace and water heater. Rebates are available for residents who upgrade their furnace and water heaters. Water heaters are a significant source of NOx emissions and that adds to Utah’s wintertime PM 2.5, problem.
Swap out your lightbulbs to LEDs. By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR rating, you can save $75 each year.
Opt for people powered or electric tools for yard work.
Get exercise while doing yard work by using push mowers instead of gas powered lawn mowers. According to the U.S. EPA, a new gas lawn mower produces as many VOCs and NOx emissions in in in one hour as 11 new cars.
Not able to use a push mower or manual tools? Look for electric alternatives to mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers.
Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined more than 50 city and county governments from 28 states in signing an amicus brief in defense of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
“I signed this brief on behalf of Salt Lake City because the effects of climate change are real, but so are the solutions,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan will reduce the pollutants that contribute to smog by more than 25 percent, a change that will benefit everyone along the Wasatch Front, especially during our increasingly dangerous winter inversion season.”
The brief, filed in federal court today, argues the administration’s plan is critical to the safety and economic security of local communities across the United States. Signatories of the brief represent a diverse geographic, economic, and political mix. In all, the signatories represent 51 localities, home to more than 18 million Americans.
“Climate change challenges our very way of life in Salt Lake City. Increasing temperatures and a shorter winter season are resulting in less snow, threatening not only our billion dollar ski industry, but the water we need to keep up with our population growth,” said Mayor Biskupski. “My administration is committed to strengthening our actions in cleaning our air. This week I asked our city’s Department of Sustainability to work with mayors and cities across the Wasatch Front to provide any resources we can to help them join this fight.”