Last month, when Utah Mom’s for Clean Air petitioned Governor Gary Herbert to take action on Utah’s poor air quality, his office responded by asking the group to come back with possible solutions. Friday, the group delivered that plan, which includes putting a price tag on air pollution.
Cherise Udell is President and Founder of Utah Mom’s for Clean Air. She called the Airshed User Fee the most innovative idea in the plan. It’s a tax on the six specific pollutants regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency including particulate matter.
“If there was that disincentive to pollute people would automatically make different choices," Udell said. "The economy we argue would naturally recalibrate into a low-pollution but still healthy economy."
The proposal also asks the governor to use his executive powers to establish a task force to study the health costs and economic impacts related to pollution.
The group delivered the plan to Alan Matheson who is the governor’s Environmental advisor.
He noted that more than 25 new air quality measures have recently been adopted by the Utah Air Quality Board to reduce the most dangerous pollution particles.
“But we do know that more needs to be done," Matheson said. "We appreciate serious proposals that allow us to continue that review and make sure that we can find the best strategies available to make sure that we as a community set the standard.”
The group outlined a version of the plan for Governor Herbert last week. They’ve asked him to respond before the end of March.