14th Annual Governor’s Idle Free Declaration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1st, 2021
Fourteenth Annual Governor’s Idle Free Declaration
September marks the 14th Annual Governor Declaration for Idle Free in Utah September 2021 and the 2021-2022 Winter Season in Utah. The Governor’s Declaration is currently signed by 76 Utah Mayors who represent more than ¾ of the state’s population. The highly anticipated event will be held on Wednesday, September 1st at 11 AM via a virtual announcement. Key leaders and advocates for the Idle Free will share their stories, work and support of this unique Utah campaign for clean air and zero emissions.
Over the past fourteen years, the Idle Free Education programs continue to grow and are supported by Utah Clean Cities, UCAIR, Breathe Utah, Utah Society for Environmental Education and the State Health Department’s Asthma Program and Recess Guide. To date, these grass-roots programs have directly reached more than 15,000 students, and are growing, across 425 schools.
“We once again initiate the beloved Idle Free Campaign, “Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free” and announce Utah’s official Idle Free Season 2021-2022. After a tumultuous summer of extreme heat and poor air quality due to wildfires, emissions, and other climate disruptions, it is especially important to commit to right action. We each must ask ourselves, as an individual, as a member of your community and a citizen of the state of Utah what you can do? It is simple. Turn Your Key Be Idle Free. It is a ten-second commitment, and everyone can do it. If we can commit to making small changes, these can lead to bigger results. ” Tammie Bostick, Executive Director, Utah Clean Cities
The Turn your Key, Be Idle Free program recognizes the Utah cities that are officially Idle Free cities. To date, the cities of Park City, Salt Lake City, Alta, Holladay, Logan, Cottonwood Heights, Murray, Springdale, Sandy and Draper City all have Idle Free City Ordinances. Zion National Park is also Idle Free.
The summer of 2021 has brought soaring temperatures, limited precipitation, and terrible air quality due to the all too common and seemingly expected wildfire season throughout the west. These wildfires create extremely unhealthy conditions due to high ozone, soaring PM 2.5 levels and heavy smoke. The smoke this year filled our skies almost the entire summer season.
Combine this smoke with emissions from cars and trucks that consistently contribute to the largest sources of harmful pollutants along the Wasatch Front, the resulting emissions combined with fires have left at-risk groups, and even some of the healthiest individuals, in a health crisis. Cleaner air can be supported by individuals and organizations who make conscious decisions to limit their emissions. Local government entities, businesses, fleets and many Utah communities are raising the bar for partnership with this annual reminder to stop unnecessary idling.
“Healthy communities breathe clean air,” said Mikelle Moore, Intermountain Healthcare’s senior vice president and chief community health officer. “We are committed to reducing air pollution outside our facilities and in our communities. We’re grateful for our partnership with Utah Clean Cities in launching idle-free zones on our campuses.
Air quality is a complex issue. There is no “magic bullet” solution to solving our air pollution challenges. 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. Over 80 Utah fleets make a commitment each year with Utah Clean Cities and the communities they serve to run their fleets Idle Free. Since 2013, Utah Clean Cities annually submits those idle free reduction reports from Utah’s fleets to the National Renewable Energy Lab, NREL. Based on Utah Clean Cities annual report data from 2013 to 2020, the Turn Your Key Be Idle Free program has reduced more than 12,298 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the past seven years. That is equivalent to reducing 25 thousand barrels of oil usage in Utah or eliminating over a million gallons of diesel in Utah.
“UCAIR recently conducted a public survey and the results indicate widespread success of the Idle Free campaign,” said Kim Frost, UCAIR Executive Director. “Eight-nine percent of survey respondents reported that they know what to do to clear the air. More specifically, seventy-two percent of the respondents reported being idle free. Additionally, Utahns said that knowing their actions are making a difference, drives their desire to make a change. We are excited to see the impactful role that the Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free campaign plays in improving Utah’s air quality.”’
Utah Clean Cities and Intermountain Healthcare have partnered to bring awareness to the impacts idling has on individual and community health through an updated signage campaign. These updated visual images of the Idle Free signs can be seen throughout Intermountain Healthcare Campuses. Ten new signs will be installed at Utah Valley Hospital during the month of September, with more to be installed throughout the region. It is our collective hope to remind visitors of the importance of turning off our vehicles to support the safety and well-being of employees, patients, and visitors.