Legislative session recap
Overall, this session did not go the way we wanted it to, but there were some significant bright spots. The biggest win among legislation that passed was for electric vehicle infrastructure. The legislature funded:
$2 million for Rural Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (Albrecht)
$14,600 to plan for locating those charging stations (Spendlove - HB259)
$3 million to USU for research on electrified transportation (Buxton)
Authorized Rocky Mountain Power to spend $50 million for EV charging infrastructure across their service area. (Snow - HB396)
In other climate and air-quality areas, the legislature funded:
$200,000 for Uintah Basin Ozone Research by USU Bingham (Chew)
$2 million for carbon capture demonstration technology (Okerlund)
$1.6 million for an Enhanced Mass Transit Strategic Business Plan (Shultz)
$50,000 for a Voluntary Home Energy Information Program (Arent - HB235)
The legislature also significantly expanded the UTA's ability to partner with communities on transit-oriented development in Senator Harper's SB150 - Transportation Governance Funding Amendments.
Thom Carter from UCAIR has a nice recap of some of these positive steps in this op-ed: Air quality and the legislative session: two big wins from the Utah Roadmap
On the issues that were most important to us, these bills were never given a hearing:
SCR012 - Concurrent Resolution Concerning Climate Action (Cullimore)
HCR011 - Concurrent Resolution Supporting the Utah Roadmap for Positive Solutions and Leadership on Climate and Air Quality (Briscoe and Waldrip)
HB194 - Clean and Renewable Energy Requirement Amendments (Ward)
But .... we should take a moment to celebrate the fact that we had a carbon-pricing resolution introduced by a Republican! This is a really big deal and it will have ripple effects going forward. We are going to continue pushing on these issues, together with a growing number of allies.
Speaking of allies ...
The business community had some things to say about the Utah Roadmap and they weren't very happy about it being pushed to the side. A letter delivered from the business community to legislative leaders and Gov. Herbert urged passage of HCR011. It had signatories representing nearly 1,700 companies and groups across the nation, including 400 in Utah.
Salt Lake Tribune - The Utah Roadmap is right for Utah’s outdoor industry