Utah Legislative Updates 2019


Follow along with the bills Utah Clean Cities is tracking this year throughout the 2019 Utah State Legislative Session.


By Ashley Miller, Breathe Utah

H.B. 107 Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan Act Amendments

HB107 allows the Utah Public Service Commission to authorize a large-scale natural gas utility to establish programs that promote sustainable energy solutions. A large-scale natural gas utility’s spending would be capped annually at $10M. The cost impact to customers would not be significant. For example, if the utility invested $15-$30M in infrastructure to support RNG production and CNG station infrastructure, the cost to the average Utah residential customer would be approximately $0.16 – $0.33 per month.

 

H.B. 139 Motor Vehicle Emissions Amendments

Rep. Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake City) is bringing back a bill that simply ran out of time last year. Her Motor Vehicle Emissions Amendments bill, HB 139, increases the fines for diesel truck owners who intentionally tamper with the emissions controls of their engines to emit plumes of black exhaust from their tailpipes.

A first offense is increased from $50 to $100, and a subsequent offense increases from $100 to $500.

It is illegal for excessive visible exhaust to be emitted from vehicles that have removed or altered the emissions controls. This bill will help strengthen the existing law by requiring a stronger line of communication between law enforcement who gives a citation, to local health departments who run the emissions inspection programs. Offenders will be reported to the health department, which will, in theory, flag a visual inspection when the vehicle is brought in for its emissions inspection.

 

H.B. 148 Vehicle Idling Revisions

Idle Free is a popular air quality campaign in Utah. It’s simple and straightforward: Don’t idle. Eight Utah cities currently have an idle-free ordinance on the books: Salt Lake City, Park City, Logan, Alta, Holladay, Murray, Sandy and Cottonwood Heights.

More cities are interested in the program, but are hindered by enforcement issues due to an ambiguous 2012 state law which many say defeats the intended purpose of reducing emissions from idling vehicles.

Rep. Patrice Arent (D-Millcreek), is running HB 148, which will repeal the idling provisions written in this state law.

 

H.C.R. 3 Concurrent Resolution Urging the Environmental Protection Agency to Update Switcher Locomotive Emission Standards &

H.B. 98 Freight Switcher Emissions Mitigation

Last year, Representative Steve Handy (R-Layton) ran a bill that would help address a significant source of air pollution in our valley—pollution from freight switcher locomotives (See CATALYST, March 2018). Freight switchers are locomotives that shuttle train cars around rail yards before they’re shipped across the country. Each unit comes with a price tag of over $1.5 million and a useful life of up to 60 years.

The ones operating in our non-attainment areas are extremely dirty tier 0 and tier 0+ engines. The current standard for these locomotives is 80-90% cleaner, but under the Clean Air Act, the state can’t require the companies that own and operate them to upgrade to a cleaner engine.

Representative Handy is addressing air pollution from freight switchers with two bills this session. He is bringing back his bill from last year, HB 98, which will create a funding mechanism to upgrade up to three of these engines. He is also bringing a separate resolution, calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to set stricter emissions standards for locomotives. This resolution, HCR 003, acknowledges that the Clean Air Act prohibits states from adopting more stringent emissions standards for switcher locomotives, and recognizes that higher emissions standards for these locomotives would reduce harmful air pollution in our non-attainment areas.

 

H.C.R. 2 Concurrent Resolution Supporting Renewable and Sustainable Energy Options to Promote Rural Economic Development

H.C.R. 11 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging the Purchase of Tier 3 Gasoline

H.C.R. 13 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Utah Refiners to Manufacture Tier 3 Gasoline to Improve Air Quality