Welcome to the 2024 legislative session! Our legislative tracker is now up. As always we will focus on legislation relating to climate change and clean energy. We'll also include clean air bills if they have a link to climate change or the possibility of significant greenhouse gas reductions. Last year we also began tracking the key water bills and appropriations requests because we have had so much interest in saving the Great Salt Lake.
Climate Utah is our list for grassroots state-level advocacy in Utah. Updates to this list will be sent out during the legislative session and when there are key opportunities to interact with your legislators. For advocacy on federal legislation, monthly chapter meetings, and other events, please join us by signing up for Citizens' Climate Lobby.
Now is a great time to contact your legislators about the bills we are tracking. You can look up your 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.
All of the committee hearings are being streamed online, and you can submit requests to testify about a bill as a member of the public.
You can also see bill trackers on a wider range of environmental topics from:
HEAL Utah (nothing entered yet)
Utah Sierra Club (bill tracker not up yet)
For the Great Salt Lake, a lot of the key action is in appropriations requests rather than bills. Appropriations requests often fly under the radar, but we will watch them as well as we can. So far, these are not large compared to the last few years. Governor Cox has requested a $20 million one-time infusion to the Great Salt Lake Account to support lake preservation efforts.
Climate and energy legislation
Nothing we've seen yet deals explicitly with climate change. Here are the most significant energy and clean air bills that will also have climate benefits.
HB279 - Air Quality Amendments (Clancy)
This bill sets a target of a 50% reduction in criteria pollutants by 2033 for key Utah counties along the Wasatch Front compared to a 2017 baseline. It requires state agencies to submit a plan identifying how they will achieve signification reductions in these pollutants by 2025. The bill ensures that Utah is prepared to meet the International Olympic Committee’s air quality standards for the 2034 Games.
HB126 - Emissions Regulation Amendments (Stoddard)
This bill addresses heavy duty vehicles, which produce more than 30% of the state's vehicle emissions but account for only 7.5% of the vehicle miles traveled. Older vehicles make up a disproportionate share of these emissions. This bill bans the use of vehicles weighing over 14,000 pounds in non-attainment counties if they exceed 0.21 grams of NOx per brake-horsepower hour.
In addition to the appropriations already mentioned, there will be opportunities to bring federal money to Utah from the Inflation Reduction Act. State agencies need to get approval from the legislature before spending federal money, even if there is no cost to the state. The Department of Environmental Quality is coordinating these under the name Beehive Emission Reduction Plan. You can sign up for their updates here. We will be watching these closely and there may be opportunities for us to contact legislators about them.