Representative Patrice Arent has an appropriations request in for air quality monitoring equipment upgrades for the Wasatch Front. This appropriation should be a no-brainer for helping the state provide accurate monitoring of quality of air Utahns breathe every day. Unfortunately, the legislature doesn’t agree — or at the very least does not understand the appropriations request.
Part of the problem is that legislators appropriated $1 million in one-time and $200,000 in ongoing appropriations last year for the very same request. However (as some legislators seem to not know), this money only funded HALF of the total need. Rep. Arent has come back this year requesting the other half of the necessary funding to replace aging and outdated monitors.
Why is this appropriation important?
- Monitoring air quality is critical to understanding the extend of the problem and to informing the public (particularly children and the elderly) about when it is safe to be outside.
- Currently 35% of our air quality monitors are operating beyond their useful lives. $1 million of the up-front costs will go to replacing instruments that have out-performed their useful life expectancy.
- The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget includes a recommendation for $1.3 million in one-time and $150,000 ongoing appropriations for air quality because Governor Herbert believes in the importance of air quality monitoring.
- Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) wants these monitors. UDEQ is the government division in charge of air quality monitoring and understands better than anyone how outdated equipment fails to provide reliable air quality monitoring to keep our communities safe.
PLEASE NOTE: The appropriations request is NOT a bill, and it won’t go through a public hearing or get a vote by the Senate or House. Instead, it will go through the Appropriations committee for funding as soon as TOMORROW! We must show public support for these monitors NOW!
CALL TO ACTION
- Contact the members of the Executive Appropriations Committee (contact info below) and ask them to fund the $1.4 million appropriations request to complete the full funding needs for functioning air quality monitoring equipment. Tell a short personal story to let members know why this issue matters to you (for example: do you have children, are you elderly or care for the elderly, do you or someone you know have asthma or breathing-related conditions?). Be sure to mention if you are a constituent!
- Spread the word – the more people emailing appropriations, the more likely the monitors will get funded!
Check out this op-ed in the SL Tribune about air quality monitoring.
Executive Appropriations Committee Members: