written by: Glen Warchol & Susan Lacke
Even in the face of expansion, cleaner air is possible on the Wasatch Front. “We have a real opportunity to build our cities with air quality in mind,” says HEAL’s Jessica Reimer. That includes creating an efficient traffic plan. With population growth bringing ever more cars (and miles driven by those cars), the amount of pollution per vehicle becomes all-important in Utah.
One of the biggest improvements will come from cleaner gasoline and an investment in electric vehicles. Within the next few years, Tier 3 gas will be produced here in Utah and will be 80% cleaner than our current Tier 2 gas. Electric vehicles (and the charging stations to support them) are becoming more common in Utah as well. But the Trump administration is expected to back off the new clean-air requirements.
Reduced driving is also imperative to air quality, meaning our cities need to develop centers near public transportation to reduce trips on the road. HEAL Utah is pushing for infrastructure that will reduce the number of trips on the road and encourage alternative ways to get around. “Cars and trucks contribute 48% of the pollution in our air, and we believe that there is a lot that can be done at the legislature that can help clean up those emissions,” says Reimer. “It won’t happen overnight, but every bit helps. Utah problems call for unique Utah solutions, and we believe that our policy makers can do more to support a healthy air shed for our families and communities.”
Listen to Salt Lake Speaks’ podcast: The Forecast for Utah’s Future Winters Looks Bleak.
See more inside our 2018 Jan/Feb Issue.