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April Punchlist

EPA Vehicle Emissions Regulations Comment Period

The EPA introduced new standards to reduce vehicle emissions and air pollutants. In practice, it would require electric vehicles to be up to 67% of new vehicles sold by 2032.

This standard would substantially reduce carbon emissions around the country, especially here in Utah, where transportation significantly contributes to our poor air.

What can you do?

The EPA is accepting comments, and we encourage everyone to voice their support in favor of the standard.

Click here to submit your comment. You can find more info on the proposal and public hearing here.

Comment Talking Points:

  • Transportation is a significant contributor to overall pollution

  • Older vehicles have an outsized impact (50% of emissions comes from less than 15% of cars)

  • Technology exists to widely adopt EVs, we need standards to match

  • An uptick of zero-emissions vehicles has been linked to fewer asthma cases

  • Although EVs can be more expensive upfront, they are cheaper to operate long term

In The News

With the proposed standards hailed as the Biden administration’s most aggressive climate-change policy, we’re excited to see electric vehicle adoption making headlines.

Check out some of the local and national coverage related to transportation, electric vehicles, and health and environmental benefits.

"The overarching goal is not just cleaner cars, but the transformation of the auto industry: The EPA would essentially impose regulatory penalties on companies that do not move quickly enough toward electric cars.”

“EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the proposed standards would eliminate 7.3 billion tons of CO2, equivalent to four years worth of the entire U.S. transportation sector, and save lives through reduced air pollution."

"Polling shows that only 12% of Utah residents own a hybrid or electric vehicle, with 88% who have yet to take the leap."

"Still, the poll showed that 56% of Utah residents would definitely or probably make an electric vehicle or hybrid their next vehicle purchase, while 42% said it is not something they would consider. Three percent said they did not know."

“The transition to electric vehicles is projected to have considerable public health co-benefits, but most evidence regarding air quality and health impacts comes from projections rather than real-world data. We evaluated whether population-level respiratory health and air quality co-benefits were already detectable at the relatively low levels of zero-emissions vehicles adoption in California, and evaluated the ZEV adoption gap in underserved communities.”

“Increases in zero-emissions vehicles linked with fewer asthma emergency room visits.”

Here are a couple of other local stories we've had our eye on.

"Rocky Mountain Power says it will shut down its coal-fired power plants in Emery County by 2032 and replace them with smaller nuclear-powered plants in the same locations.

The utility company also announced it will reduce operations at the two coal plants starting this summer and install technology to remove some of the pollutants. With that combination, the company believes it can comply with the federal Ozone Transfer rule in the remaining years the plants stay open."

"A legislative committee failed to advance Gov. Spencer Cox's nomination of Democratic Salt Lake County Council member Suzanne Harrison to a slot on the Utah Air Quality Board on Tuesday. The no votes from Senate Republicans appeared to be motivated by a measure of political payback and worries Harrison's environmental positions were out of sync with the GOP-dominated Utah Legislature.

Harrison, a physician and former state lawmaker, was tapped by Cox to fill one of two seats on the nine-member board designated for a government representative. She was nominated to replace Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, whose term expired last month. The board is the state's primary source of air quality policy and has broad authority to enact rules and regulations."

“Between May and June, Salt Lake City residents and guests will see a pop-up park created downtown, including greenspace with nearly 200 trees and temporary installations for musical performances, beer gardens, food trucks and more.

If successful, the project could be the first segment in a planned 5.5-mile "Green Loop" around the city's central business districts, which would trade excess—and dangerous—car lanes for a linear park encircling downtown in safe, slow-speed corridors.”

Upcoming Events

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our Community & Volunteer Celebration last week. It was wonderful to see so many of you together — our work is not possible without your effort. And a special thank you to Patagonia for hosting and providing an amazing raffle!

We hope to see you at some of our upcoming events.

Nature Walk with Patagonia

When: Tuesday, April 18 // 8-9:30 a.m.

Where: Terrace Hills Trailhead to hike Twin Peaks

Enjoy a morning hike and time outside with the O₂ Utah and Patagonia teams. We’ll discuss air quality and ways to get involved in elections, on the Hill, and more. After the hike, we’ll meet at the Patagonia Outlet (2292 Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, UT 84106) for coffee and donuts.

Sips with Sim

When: Tuesday, April 25 // 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Shades Brewing (154 W Utopia Ave, South Salt Lake, UT 84115)

Join O₂ Utah and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill for an evening at Shades Brewing. Learn about the environmental work and projects of the District Attorney's office and all of the latest happenings with O₂ Utah. This event is 21+

Little Cottonwood Canyon Gondola Roadless Rule Comment Period

UDOT has opened another comment period for the Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Specifically, this comment period focuses on how the gondola would impact the Roadless Area Conservation Rule (RACR). UDOT is accepting comments until April 18.

Click here to submit your comment. In your comment it is important to note the gondola would directly violate the Roadless Rule.

For more information on the Roadless Rule and the comment period, check out materials from our friends at Patagonia, Save Our Canyons, Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, and Students for the Wasatch.

Charge Your Yard Incentive Program

The Department of Air Quality (DAQ) rolled out a new incentive program for lawn care businessesCharge Your Yard Incentive Program.

The program offers lawn care businesses up to $3,000 toward the purchase of electric lawn equipment in exchange for recycling their gas-powered string trimmers and leaf blowers. Applications are open until April 24.

Did you know? Using a gas-powered leaf blower for just one hour is the same as driving the average vehicle 727 miles — from Ogden to Disneyland!


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