Help Utah “Return to Better” Air Quality after Coronavirus

Hey, it’s Carrie Butler with Action Utah.
We wanted to come to talk to you today a little bit about air quality, and what’s been happening since the pandemic. So a couple of really important things to know number one: You may have noticed this just all on your own, but the air quality has been significantly improved since a lot of us have been staying home and there’s been a huge reduction in particulate matter coming from vehicles.

So that’s great. And it makes a lot of us happy and it makes our lungs really really happy and more importantly, I think it helps us recognize the potential for clean air and how that impacts our health and well-being here in the state. Recently the governor’s office released “Utah Leads Together 3.0.” It’s the new fancy plan for how we’re going to be opening the economy. And in it, there is a lot of talk about air quality and more importantly, there’s a lot of talk and a lot of focus on “returning to better” so not returning to normal, but returning to better which I think is really poignant as we discuss air quality, you know, one of their specific goals is to “return to better” through encouraging research, innovation, and other policies that help improve air quality and using the lessons that we’ve learned during COVID about teleworking and telecommuting to really focus our attention on particularly bad air days in the winter and in the summer, so we’re excited.

Excited about that and we are excited about talking to our legislators about what that looks like from a policy perspective and how we can encourage that to move forward. Some of you who have already taken the action of our week which is to contact your legislators and recognize them for the work that they’ve done in cleaning up our air and encourage them to continue forward on this through policies that we can find outlined in the “Utah Roadmap,” which the Ken C Gardner Institute was wise enough to create prior to the last legislative session. If you guys want to find more out about the “Utah Roadmap” and what those recommendations are you can look at that. You can find that just by Googling it or at actionutah.org there’s a link. So please please if air quality or environmental stewardship is a concern of yours and you would like to get involved, please take this opportunity to encourage your lawmakers to promote research, innovation, and other policy priorities that help us do that as a state.


Governor Herbert’s office recently released the Utah Leads Together 3.0, the Governor’s comprehensive task force plan to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19. Among the guidelines and recommendations, a theme of “returning to better” weaves through the entire plan.

During the 2019 legislative session, policymakers prioritized $27 million dollars toward clean air initiatives. Leading up to the 2020 legislative session, the Kem C. Gardner Institute released the legislature-commissioned Utah Road Map for improved air quality and reduced emissions. We know that clean air and economic strength are not mutually exclusive ideas. As decision makers consider ways to revive the state, encourage them to follow the governor’s plan to pursue air quality AND economic revitalization together.

Thank your legislators for their progress on clean air and encourage them to support research, incentives, and innovation in clean air technology as a way to “return to better” as outlined by Gov. Herbert’s Economic Response Task Force.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Thank legislators for the work they have done in the past to support clean air measures and funding.
  • Mention the Utah Leads Together 3.0 recommendations for future focus to “Research, invest, incentivize, and empower innovations in alternative vehicle technology development and infrastructure — along with transportation, transit, and other mobility solutions — to improve air quality.” (Strategic Investment Option 8, page 15)
  • Offer to share The Utah Road Map from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute as a reference for future legislation.
  • Do you have a personal story about how better air quality would benefit you or your community? Share it!

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