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  • Writer's pictureTom Moyer

Climate Utah legislative tracker

Our 2021 legislative tracker is up! This will focus on legislation relating to climate change and clean energy. We'll include clean air bills only if they also have a link to climate change.

Now is the time to contact your legislators about these bills. You can look up your legislative district and contact information for your legislators here. As always, legislators respond best when we are respectful and appreciative of the work they do, and when we are clear about what we are asking them to vote for or against. If you're emailing a legislator, include the bill number and title in the subject of the email, and include your address and contact information in your signature. They will typically respond only to constituents.

You can also see bill trackers on a wider range of environmental topics from:

Here is a summary of the most significant climate bills this session.

HCR005 - Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Statewide Emissions Reduction Goals (Handy)

This resolution adopts the reduction goals for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions recommended by the Kem Gardner Institute in Milepost 1 of the “Utah Roadmap: Positive Solutions on Climate and Air Quality.” It calls for a reduction of 50% in criteria pollutants and a reduction of 80% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is nonbinding, but would set important targets for future rulemaking and legislation. This resolution was heard in an interim session, and there was significant opposition from rural legislators. We have work to do in reaching out to them to build support.

HB145 - Clean and Renewable Energy Requirement Amendments (Ward)

This bill updates Utah's renewable energy goals and sets a standard for large utilities (primarily Rocky Mountain Power) to reach 50% of generation from solar wind, hydro, geothermal, and nuclear by 2030 as long as it is cost-effective to do so. The state's current target is 20% of generation by 2025. We are currently at 18% statewide and we should easily meet the 2025 target. This bill was introduced in last year's session and was never given a hearing.

HB123 - Feasibility Study for Air Quality Laboratory (Handy)

This bill directs the Division of Air Quality to do a feasibility study on the creation of an Air Quality and Changing Climate Solutions Laboratory by November 1, 2021. This is Milepost 3 from the Gardner Institute's Utah Roadmap, and the idea was also given support by Governor Cox in his State of the State address and his One Utah Roadmap.

HB263 - Clean Energy Fund (Briscoe)

Representative Briscoe is expected to sponsor legislation to develop a new state supported non-profit fund to provide low-interest financing to clean energy and energy efficiency projects in Utah. It would leverage private and public capital to support solar, EV, wind, energy efficiency, and other projects that have the benefit of cleaner air and a healthy climate. Clean energy projects tend to have high upfront costs and low to zero operating costs, so their financial viability is heavily dependent on interest rates.

HB017 - Utility Permitting Amendments (Handy) - oppose

This bill would preemptively ban municipalities from requiring cleaner energy sources in new construction, such as electric heat, electric water heaters, etc. instead of natural gas fired appliances. Natural gas bans for new construction are proliferating in municipalities in states like California and Massachusetts, and laws like this to prevent them have been enacted in several states. Building electrification eliminates criteria pollutant emissions, and when combined with clean electricity generation it can also eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. No municipalities in Utah are currently considering such policies, but Salt Lake City and Park City may eventually do so.

Action alert! Call legislators now and ask them to oppose this bill. It will likely be voted on by the House in the next few days.It undermines local efforts to reduce emissions, and entrenches a utility monopoly. The Utah League of Cities and Towns opposes the bill.

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