2020 Environmental Health Committee Report
Introduction and Summary of Major Positions
Utah Citizens’ Counsel makes the following recommendations to promote environmental health. We acknowledge that the burgeoning, life-threatening pandemic is an immediate concern. Yet, in the long term, the health and well-being of all ages are gravely threatened by continuing environmental problems such as air pollution and global climate change. We urge all Utah citizens and leaders to consider these UCC positions. Our documentation and rationale are found in the subsequent pages of this Environmental Health report.
- Air quality.
- Continue to advance and implement automobile and truck legislation that reduces air pollution
- Tier 3 gasoline. Do not extend tax credits to Holly and Big West refineries beyond the current expiration date, and press for their production of Tier 3 gasoline sooner. Ensure that, by 2022 at the latest, all gasoline being sold in Utah is Tier 3, low sulfur gasoline.
- Cleaner, more-efficient vehicles. Incentivize sale and use of vehicles with low emissions and increase public understanding of their importance.
- Building codes. Bring Utah residential building codes up to international standards. Develop more legislation to help home buyers understand the energy efficiency of prospective purchases as in the pilot program of HB235. Consider mandating that all new residential housing carry a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score.
- Public Transit. Keep and increase planning for and investments in the future of public transportation. While ridership is temporarily down due to the pandemic, mass transit is crucial for our future. Rep. Schultz’s HB3, “Enhanced Mass Transit Strategic Business Plan” is important to implement as soon as possible.
- Spending on roads. To better balance current spending between new highways and mass transit, plan how to reduce spending on new and expanded highways. Reduce and eventually eliminate the approximately $500 million sales tax earmark for roads. This subsidy is keeping other taxes constitutionally designated for public roads artificially low, thus obscuring the true cost of our roads.
- Digital communication. Encourage use of teleworking, telemedicine, virtual meetings, and appropriate use of on-line university teaching to save time and expenses and to decrease pollution from vehicle use.
- Inland Port p The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) Strategic Business Plan lacks major elements expected in a business plan, including a budget for developing the port’s infrastructure and expected income. It does not address mitigation of environmental impacts adequately. Its aim of “revolutionizing global logistics for the next generation” is a grandiose promise that is not supported by specifics in the Plan.
- Climate Change and Reduction of CO Implement a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend system.
- Climate Change and the Lake Powell Pipeline and Bear River Dam projects. These projects are not economically justifiable nor supported by Utah taxpayers. Currently, the Water Infrastructure Restricted Account (WIRA) annually receives for these two projects approximately $40 million, which should be released for better uses.
To access a pdf version of the full report click here: Environmental Health
Article 2 (Environment) Committee Members