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Posts tagged ‘pollution’

SLC Debuts on National City Scorecard for Energy Efficiency

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Mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, increase their resilience, and reduce pollution through increased energy efficiency, according to the 2nd edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Salt Lake City makes its debut on the list this year, coming in #19 on the city scorecard. Check out the summary below for all the details! You can also explore the entire ACEE City Scorecard.

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Open Letter from Mayor Becker on Air Quality

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you may know, air quality has been a major focus of my work as mayor. My administration has been working on bringing greater attention to the issue and I’ve been advocating for aggressive, meaningful steps to that can be taken by Salt Lake City, state government, industry and individuals to help clean our air.

This is a complex problem and the only way we’re going to solve it is with a comprehensive solution. Let’s come together and fix this problem right away-we can’t wait, the time for talk is over, we need to take action.

Mayor Becker delivers his State of the City address on air quality to a packed house.

Mayor Becker delivers his State of the City address on air quality to a packed house.

During my recent State of the City Address on solving the air quality problem, I proposed key actions that must be taken in order to accomplish this goal.

With clean air as our goal, Salt Lake City has adopted anti-idling ordinances, more than doubled our bike lanes and introduced the City’s first solar farm. For the upcoming year, we are launching the City’s first-ever multiple transit pass and are creating an incentive program to phase out wood burning stoves.

In addition to what Salt Lake City is doing, I’ve also outlined what the state ought to do. Those actions should include:

  • Allocating More Money for Public Transit
    • Increased funding for public transit in Salt Lake City would allow for buses and trains to run more frequently. We must make it more affordable and accessible for individuals to drive less and ride more.
  • Making Lower Sulfur Gasoline a Requirement
    • Tier 3 gasoline has lower levels of sulfur and therefore helps decrease emissions. It is widely available to us but is not required. Mandating that it be required would provide an immediate impact on our air quality.
  • Requiring Buildings to Use Power Efficiently
    • Utah’s energy code standards date back to 2006, lagging far behind many national and international standards. Adopting an updated building code for energy efficiency would help reduce energy use and improve air quality.
  • Making the True Cost of Driving Transparent at the Pump
    • Gas prices have a significant impact on how much people drive their cars. Raising the gas tax would help pay for better roads while also encouraging less driving and improving air quality.
  • Allowing Utah to set Utah-specific air quality standards
    • Setting air quality standards tailored to Utah’s needs is imperative if we are to improve our air quality. Generic national conditions will not work in Utah, and we need to set air quality standards that will work for us.

These are real solutions that will not only produce tangible differences, but produce them quickly. We have received a great response from the community, and are looking to turn that response into results.

If the state is unable to do these things for any reason, I’ve asked that they grant local governments the ability to make these changes because we will get it done at the local level. Enough is enough.

There are 2 things that I would ask of you in order to help improve our air quality.

  1. Lobby your legislators — Ask them to support these measures that I am bringing up and consider the other proposals that will clean up our air.
  2. If they do not support these measures, ask your legislators to grant authority to the local level, so that we can take care of our own problems. We can get this done on the local level if the state can’t or won’t.

I would also implore you to work with your legislators, and not against them. To be effective and to make real change, we need to work together in a respectful and civil manner. While it is important to let your voice be heard, it is equally important to do so in a manner which conveys respect and encourages cooperation.

One of the most memorable moments of my State of the City speech was when a class of 4th graders from Whittier Elementary School took the stage and sang a song they wrote about the inversion and what needs to be done. Our children are, at the end of the day, the most important reason we must strive to clean our air and these kids said it better than anyone could. Watch the video.

There has been enough talk, and it is time for action. A change must be made, and it is up to each and every one of us to make that change.
I hope you will join me in the fight to help improve the air quality of Salt Lake City.

Warm Regards,

Ralph Becker
Mayor
P.S. If you were unable to attend my State of the City address in person, the full text of the speech and some additional information about the issue can be found here.
Also the Salt Lake City Tribune ran a terrific op-ed that discusses the ideas I laid out in my air quality address and if you’re interested, you can read it here.

Special Event: The Air We Breathe

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On Tuesday, February 4, KUED and a variety of community partners will come together for an evening to explore “The Air We Breathe.”

The free community event begins with a preview of “The Air We Breathe,” a locally-produced, 30 minute documentary that examines Utah’s air quality.

Attendees will also hear from Robert Grow, Executive Director of Envision Utah, and have a Q&A with University of Utah Program for Air Quality, Health & Society Director Dr. Robert Paine.

SLCgreen will be there, and we hope you will too!

The Air We Breathe Film Screening & Event
Tuesday, February 4
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
University of Utah
Huntsman Cancer Institute, Auditorium (6th Floor)
RSVP to the Facebook event

[VIDEO] Get Inspired to Clear the Air

‘Tis the season for New Years Resolutions.

While you’re revisiting resolutions to exercise, eat healthy and spend more time with those you love (a great way to start the new year!), consider making one more resolution — to help clear the air.

Through the winter Care to Clear the Air project (2010-2012), a series of videos captured the stories of residents making a resolution to limit their impact on air quality by driving less.

Watch the videos below to hear from people that have done everything from moving closer to where they work, to biking, carpooling and taking public transit.

Their stories will inspire you to make your own resolution to help clear the air!

Kyle LaMalfa shares his commitment to take public transit.


Read more

5 Ways to Limit Your Impact During an Inversion

Winter inversion season is here (collective sigh) and the Salt Lake Valley is currently in the grips of it’s first official inversion.

While periods of poor air quality can feel overwhelming, we’re here to offer five simple things you can do to limit your impact and protect your health. As we all know, whatever we put into the air during an inversion, we’re stuck with. So every little bit helps! Read more

Utah’s New Air Quality Alerts

Say goodbye to the basic Green, Yellow and Red air quality days!

Utah’s Division of Air Quality has updated their air quality alert system to more clearly and precisely communicate about action days and health alerts related to Utah’s air quality.

Read more

Air Quality Grants Available

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The Utah Clean Air Partnership (more commonly known as UCAIR) is now accepting proposals for their new grants program.

The purpose of the program is to provide incentives to the private sector, government entities, and individuals to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants that cause Utah’s poor air quality.

Grants will be used to promote investment by the private and public sector in emission-reducing technology, lower emission vehicles, energy efficiency and other proven methodologies for reducing or eliminating emissions, including education of the public.

The program will also encourage creative thinking and promote the development of new technology, but will be based on solid metrics and performance standards that demonstrate actual emissions reductions. A loan program will be announced at a later date.

Visit the UCAIR website for more information, and to download the application form.