Utah Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary of Governor’s Idle Free Declaration

September marks the 10th year of the Idle Free Governor’s Declaration in Utah. The Governor’s Declaration is currently signed by more than 50 Utah Mayors. The anniversary event, held on Wednesday, September 6th at 9am, at the Utah State Capitol, will highlight the milestones led by the State Board of Education with idle free bus policies and recognize the first Utah Cities to be idle free: Park City, Salt Lake City, Alta, Holladay, Logan, Cottonwood Heights, and Murray. Other significant successes will be celebrated across the state with local Idle Free campaigns at schools, government entities, businesses, fleets and communities.

Utah had the first Idle Free campaign in the nation, and it started in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City was also the second city in Utah to adopt an Idle Free ordinance, passed in 2011. The Idle Free in Utah Governor’s Declaration plays an important role in the progress towards cleaner air in Utah. Salt Lake City’s Mayor, Jackie Biskupski, is proud to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Utah’s Idle-Free declaration. “On the tenth anniversary of the Idle Free Declaration, I’m proud that Salt Lake City is still leading the way on Idle Free awareness. As we enter the next decade, we look forward to building off this momentum so that all drivers remember how they can help clear the air: ‘turn the key and be idle free’” said Mayor Biskupski.

Idling vehicles emit particulate matter and other pollutants that are known to cause serious health problems. Vehicle exhaust makes up about half of the air pollution in Utah, and unnecessary idling contributes a significant amount of emissions into our air shed each day. Air quality is a complex issue. There is no “silver bullet” solution to solving our air pollution challenges. “The Idle Free Campaign helps each of us to understand the importance of taking even small steps to help to clean the air. It also helps us to understand that each action we can take, however small it may seem, combines with the actions that others take to make real improvement when they are considered cumulatively”, said Royal DeLegge, Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department Environmental Health Division and Chair of Utah Clean Cities.

Utah Clean Cities, along with all Utah School Districts, and the Utah State Board of Education developed and put into place a school bus idling reduction program and elementary student education plan, informing youth and the general public about the benefits of reduced idling. Over the past ten years, the Idle Free Education Program developed by Utah Clean Cities, Breathe Utah, Utah Society for Environmental Education and the State Health Department’s Asthma Program and Recess Guide has reached more than 10,000 students across 400 schools. “We applaud our state leaders in bringing attention to this important strategy to reduce vehicle emissions, especially at schools around our most vulnerable populations,” said Ashley Miller, policy director of Breathe Utah.

This is the month we start the 10th Idle Free Campaign and this is Utah’s official Idle Free Season; which will be known to us soon enough with winter inversions and poor air quality.  You may ask yourself as an individual, as a member of your community and a citizen of the state of Utah what can you do? It is simple.  Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free.  It’s a ten second commitment and everyone can do it.  We are all in this together.

For more information visit utahcleancities.org.