SALT LAKE CITY – Utah lawmakers are showing overwhelming support for a bill that helps to address the state’s serious air quality issues.
The House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 99.
It requires the state to convert half of its passenger vehicles to cleaner fuels or ensure that they’re high-efficiency vehicles by August 2018.
Rep. Gage Froerer, who sponsored the House version of the bill, says he hopes the public will follow suit in terms of vehicle choices.
“The overall impact will be far greater if the citizens look at this and say, ‘Hey you know maybe we should consider on our next replacement look at electrical, look at biodiesel, whatever’s available out there,” he points out.
Froerer says he expects the legislation to affect up to 2,000 state-owned vehicles, which could become electric or run on natural gas or hydrogen.
He adds that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels contribute up to 70 percent of air pollution.
Froerer says Utah’s poor air quality is hurting tourism, and that some businesses won’t open in the state as a result of the air pollution.
He also says strong support for Senate Bill 99 shows that Utah’s air quality is no longer a divisive political issue.
“In no way a partisan issue,” he stresses. “This is the Legislature working as a group to say, ‘How do we deal with this issue?'”
The Utah Legislature is reported to be considering more than two-dozen bills relating to air quality issues during the current session.