Utah Gov. Herbert Launches Clean Air Program

Published March 8, 2012

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued a call to action to the state’s residents and businesses, urging them to participate in a voluntary initiative for cleaner air.

Called the Utah Clean Air Partnership, or U-CAIR, the program encourages voluntary efforts to clear the air of pollutants and maintain healthy air quality statewide.

“Air quality affects us all,” Herbert said in a public statement. “It is vital to our health, the economy, and our quality of life. I firmly believe that the solutions to Utah’s air quality problems must come from Utah, not the federal government, and that is why I am announcing this statewide clean air initiative.”

Herbert’s program includes the entire state but focuses on traditional regions of concern—the Uintah Basin, Cache Valley, the Wasatch Front, and the border with Arizona. U-CAIR includes educational information about air quality and steps residents and businesses can take to improve it. The U-CAIR website suggests a slew of ideas that help clean the air, as well as tracking programs so participants can see how some actions lead to measurable results. 

‘Mostly Carrot'”

It’s not a whole lot of stick. It’s mostly carrot,” said Marty Carpenter, director of communications for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not intended to produce legislation. It’s all about trying to get people to understand that clean air in our state is everybody’s responsibility and that everyone can do something about it. And to that extent, we applaud that effort.”

Herbert’s program also reaches out to local government, schools and community business groups, like chambers of commerce, to promote clean air in their own ways. 

“We’ve been doing some of these for years,” Carpenter said, referring to individual businesses in Utah that have taken voluntary steps to maintain clean air. Carpenter noted the Hale Center Theatre has converted its vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas. Also, a waste management operation is working toward converting its garbage collection fleet to natural gas, in line with what’s already been done in its truck maintenance shop, he said. 

“A lot of businesses are interested in preserving the natural beauty of our state, especially when they can see the bottom line,” Carpenter said. “[We] especially like it when it’s being done without a mandate. We see good responsibility from businesses trying to help out, so a lot of times you don’t even need the mandate.”

Cheryl Chumley, [email protected], writes from northern Virginia.