Herbert Asks Public to Take Responsibility for Clean Air

May 2, 2013

Governor Gary Herbert demonstrated three simple things Utahns can do to help lower harmful emissions as he kicked off Clean Air Month at a house across the street from the State Capitol today.

Governor Herbert says Utahns aren’t always aware of the simple ways we can help clean up the air but gave these three tips while declaring May Clean Air Month. One could update older fuel storage containers, use paints with low amounts of volatile organic compounds, and replace gas powered yard equipment with cleaner alternatives.

“We all individually have opportunities to do simple things which will help reduce the pollutants in the air too and our volatile organic component parts that come from our everyday living," Herbert says. "But, we’re just probably not aware of them.”

While the Utah Division of Air Quality says that putting these tips into practice could reduce summer air pollutants by one percent, the latest estimates show that Salt Lake area counties still need to reduce wintertime pollution levels by 10 percent if the state is going to meet federal clean air standards. But Bryce Bird, the director of Utah’s Division of Air Quality, echoed Governor Herbert’s comments. He says they’re doing everything they can to find a solution, but in the end it’s up to individuals.

“There are a number of strategies we’re still testing through the models right now," Bird says. "But, clearly, the things we need to focus on are driving less, driving smarter, making sure we’re using the transportation system as best we can, and reducing those smaller individual emissions.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has given Utah until the end of this year to put measures in place to improve Utah’s air quality. If they do not reach the levels set by the EPA by 2019 the state could lose millions of dollars in federal highway funding.