Nations around the world came together on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. And in The Beehive State’s capital city, Governor Gary Herbert signed 15 clean air bills into law, further solidifying his administration’s dedication to protecting Utah’s natural resources.
The Utah Legislature set aside $29 million of this year’s budget to clean up the air for the state’s residents. During the outdoor ceremony at the Capitol North Plaza, Gov. Herbert signed the bills amid onlookers, addressing some of the environmental concerns that Utahans have expressed in recent months.
“We need to make sure our home stays as pristine as possible,” said Gov. Hebert at the ceremony and added that, “It is a significant accomplishment and something that is probably past due.”
Nine million dollars will go toward replacing fireplaces and wood-burning stoves in private homes. The program will help homeowners swap them out for natural gas alternatives.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) were also a hot topic at the event, as the Governor highlighted $6,990,000 in funding to expand the electric charging infrastructure for cars. The funding includes a program to help businesses pay for EV chargers, with 84 tons of emissions projected to be reduced every year.
Last year, Gov. Herbert pledged to work on reducing statewide emissions by signing the House Concurrent Resolution 7. Utahans young and old applauded as Gov. Herbert signed the resolution that encourages environmental stewardship and calls for the growth in the state’s clean industries and technologies.
Like most of the western states, Utah has experienced an uptick in wild fires in the dryer weather, and in October of last year Gov. Herbert was forced to declare an emergency drought due to the dire conditions.
These conditions have led to a renewed focus among state lawmakers to address voters’ growing concerns. Due to the state’s efforts, the air quality has begun to change for the better. Air pollution has gone down the last few years, and with the new bills signed into law, that trend should continue.
“I am committed to continuing down the path to improved air quality and have included in my 2020 Fiscal Year Budget Proposal $100 million for data-driven solutions to reducing emissions. This would constitute a record investment in clean air and could result in significant improvements to Utah’s quality of life,” said the Governor.
Gov. Herbert, a CRES 2018 Clean Energy Champion, joins a growing number of leading conservative figures who are embracing clean and renewable energy as a way to reduce emissions—and as a tool for positive economic change.