Issue Position: Air Quality and Energy Security
Air quality has become a pressing issue throughout the State of Utah. It is an issue that transcends the boundaries of the Wasatch Front. From the Cache County in the north to Bryce Canyon and Washington County in the south, greater numbers of Utahns are being affected by decreased air quality. Although air pollution has been significantly reduced over the last three decades, pollution levels exceed health standards and impair the vistas essential to enjoy our natural surroundings.
To address this pressing issue requires new thinking and bold initiatives. We can do much in state government to advance the goal of improving air quality and leading by example. Some of the steps involved in this process include:
o Reduce engine idle time
o Purchase cleaner vehicles
o Avoid peak rush-hour traffic
o Make sure tires are properly inflated
o Perform preventive maintenance as scheduled
o Use the lowest octane fuel required for the vehicle
o Reduce the number of commute and take-home vehicles
o Drive at ideal speeds
o Use video conferencing rather than travel
o Reduce congestion
o Improve Incident Management
o #1 goal: Take care of what we have
o #2 goal: Improve the efficiency of our system
o Maintain healthy environment for plants to reduce impacts due to fire.
o Public Outreach www.cleanair.utah.gov
o Air Pollution information provided at http://www.airquality.utah.gov/
o Green team encouraging employees to minimize pollution
* All State Agencies:
o Implement Governor's Executive Order on Energy Efficiency
o Energy Efficiency Standards for all state buildings
o Encourage employees to use public transportation by providing bus passes.
o Encourage employees to walk to work or lunch
o Drive the right size vehicle for the job
On the energy front, Utah is uniquely positioned to assist in meeting the future needs of our State and nation. A clean, diverse, secure mix of energy resources is essential to maintain Utah's quality of life and economic development. Governor Huntsman has established programs and objectives to accomplish that goal.
* In May 2006, Governor Huntsman, in conjunction with a state law sponsored by Representative Hunsaker, charged state agencies to improve energy efficiency in state buildings by 20% by 2015, and by example to private sector business and citizens.
* In May2007, Governor Huntsman, again working with Representative Hunsaker, extended the energy efficiency goal to state vehicle fleets, and by example, to the private sector and citizens.
* In the fall of 2006, the Governor's Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change (BRAC) was established to: 1) consider science, economics, and policy around climate change in a forum where we as a State - industry, environment, community - could have productive dialogue, 2) understand and recognize what we are trying to leave for the next generation, and 3) bring back information and policy recommendations for his review and consideration.
* The BRAC recommendations will provide the roadmap for new clean renewable energy as well as recommendations for cleaner production of conventional fossil fuel energy resources.
* In May 2007, Utah joined the Climate Registry, an organization of States and Canadian Provinces, committed to develop a common greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory to facilitate proper recognition and management of greenhouse gas credits.
* In May 2007, Utah also joined the Western Climate Initiative, comprised of 6 States and 2 Canadian provinces committed to reducing greenhouse gases.
* Governor Huntsman co-chairs the State/Federal committee that prepared two reports on unconventional fuels development, including oil shale and tar sands.
* Through the USTAR program (see Governor's Office of Economic Development), carbon capture and sequestration strategies are being identified and developed to allow Utah to maximize its coal resource, which with 98 percent of Utah energy coming from fossil fuels, is vital.
Quick Facts and Figures
* The State building efficiency program has constructed new buildings to the High Performance Building standards which reduces energy usage by 20-40 %.
* In order to meet our goal in existing State buildings, we need to reduce source energy per square foot by 2 percent per year. We are on target to do so in 2007 through use of more efficient lighting and utility usage. The Governor has also implemented these energy savings in the Governor's Mansion, in his official vehicle, and in state vehicles that are used by employees of the Governor's Office.
* State Fleet Services has revamped the policy for vehicle purchases to provide energy efficient, less-polluting vehicles, and improve the availability of clean fuels.
* An Energy Efficiency Report prepared separately, defines the strategies to implement to reach the goal of 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2015.
* The BRAC report, presented to the Governor in September 2007 includes recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in four sectors: agriculture/forestry, energy sources, transportation, and cross-cutting issues. A separate report on a Renewable Energy Initiative was completed in October. Both will form the basis for implementing administrative and legislative strategies that reduce greenhouse gas consistent with the growth of Utah's economy.
* The Western Climate Initiative committed to reduce greenhouse gases by 15% below 2005 levels by 2020. As a member, Utah will work to balance this goal with maintaining Utah's high quality of life.