Twelfth Annual Governor’s Idle Free Declaration

September 13th, 2019

Twelfth Annual Governor’s Idle Free Declaration

September marks the 12th Annual Governor Declaration for Idle Free in Utah September 2019 and the 2019-2020 Winter Season in Utah. The Governor’s Declaration is currently signed by 72 Utah Mayors who represent more than ¾ of the state’s population. The highly anticipated event will be held on Monday, September 16 at 11:00 am to twelve noon at the Utah State Capitol south steps. The declaration will highlight the milestones led by the State Board of Education with idle-free bus policies and recognizes the first, and the newest, Utah cities to be idle free.

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. Other significant successes will be celebrated across the state with local Idle Free campaigns that will be a companion to the exciting autumnal ritual and the “return to school.” Utah schools annually renew and launch their friendly reminders at drop-off and pick-up zones “Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free.” Please, we are breathing here. Local government entities, businesses, fleets, and many Utah communities will be in partnership with this annual reminder to stop unnecessary idling.

This year’s keynote address will be from the Lt. Governor of Utah. “As I talk to people from around our state, one of the most frequently discussed issues of concern I hear about is our air quality. These individuals want to help, but often feel overwhelmed, or are simply unaware of what they can do. Being idle-free is an easy and effective way we can all help to clean up our air. I am grateful for the strides made by the Idle Free campaign, and for their continued efforts to empower everyone to do their part for a healthier environment.” stated Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.
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. Draper City is the most recent Utah city to commit to a fully, idle-free community and has joined other Utah cities with their own ordinance. “I’m so proud to represent Sandy and Draper in the State Legislature – communities that are fighting for clean air. Both Sandy and Draper City have shown impressive leadership by becoming idle-free cities. Through the grassroots efforts of school kids, parents, and elected officials, our community is working to help everyone do their part to clean up our air. Little changes can make a big difference in our air pollution! Next time you are picking up kids from school or practice, remember – protect their health and our air by turning your key and being idle-free! “Advocated Representative Suzanne Harrison (District 32), Co-chair of the Bi-partisan Clean Air Caucus.  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. “Speaking from a personal standpoint, the Anti-Idling Campaign has directed me to change my habits as I’ve come to understand the harmful effects of transportation pollution. I just never idle, not at the bank and not at the fast-food drive-up, it’s just good practice and I’m hoping that more Utahns will get in the swing of things. We really can make a difference together” Commented Representative Steve Handy. Handy is a long-time advocate of clean transportation and currently serves on the Utah Clean Cities Board of Directors. The sentiment was further supported by the air advocacy work of Dr. Liz Joy, “Intermountain Healthcare is committed to addressing poor air quality in Utah communities, and aligning those efforts with air quality advocacy partners such as UCAIR, and in working closely with policymakers for solutions that work for Utah communities.” Dr. Joy and her team at Intermountain Health donated funds this year to lend support to Utah Clean Cities programs that provide materials and idle-free signs without cost for Utah Schools.

Over the past twelve years, the Idle Free Education programs continue to grow and are supported by Utah Clean Cities, 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 12,000 students across 425 schools. “You know you are reaching a critical mass when nearly every school child in Utah can talk with you about the importance of idle-free. These kids have taken the original message and made it into curbside campaigns through art, song, poetry, personal narrative and life-long commitment to clean air,” noted Tammie Bostick, Executive Director of Utah Clean Cities Coalition. Bostick added, “Honestly, I believe there is no other idling program in the nation that is so greatly loved, supported and passionately defended. This gives one voice to many and it is uniquely Utah! We seek to solve our own problems with our own solutions. What a powerful action story for Utah.”

This is the month we once again initiate the beloved Idle-Free Campaign and announce the fact that this is Utah’s official Idle Free Season 2019-2020. After a summer of poor air quality due to wildfires and emissions, it seems especially important to do the right thing. 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.


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