Last week we asked you to help get critical air quality monitoring equipment funded through the state Executive Appropriations Committee. However, we hear that the appropriations request (which was in the Governor’s budget recommendations for 2017) is facing an uphill battle and may not pass. Even worse, the legislature is poised to cut funding for the Division of Air Quality, which will result in loss of personnel. This is an affront on efforts to monitor and work toward cleaner air along the Wasatch Front!
Don’t let the state legislature de-prioritize clean air!
Studies show that air pollution not only exacerbates existing health conditions, it directly contributes to diseases like asthma, respiratory conditions, heart disease, cancer, death and stillborn births. The people MOST susceptible to the health problems from air pollution are children and the elderly. Monitoring and researching air quality problems in Utah are key to tackling air pollution.
The Division of Air Quality’s job is to safeguard human health and quality of life by monitoring air quality, developing plans to reduce air pollution and ensuring that industries and residents comply with all Utah air quality requirements. We cannot allow the legislature to cut funding for the DAQ’s critical personnel and equipment!
It’s time to speak up and tell the members of the Executive Appropriations Committee that Utah cares about clean air!
CALL TO ACTION
- Contact the members of the Executive Appropriations Committee (contact info below) and ask them to 1) restore funding to the Division of Air Quality, 2) fund the $1.4 million appropriations request to complete the full funding needs for functioning air quality monitoring equipment and research and 3) prioritize clean air for all Utahns, and especially for children and the elderly. 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 – Ask friends and family to contact the appropriations committee members too! The more legislators hear from us, the more likely they will be to head our call and fund clean air legislation, projects and departments!
About the air quality monitoring equipment appropriations request:
- 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.