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Utah senator says bill would cut emissions in half by 2030

(Ravel Call, Deseret News, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah senator is proposing what he calls the most “ambitious” air-quality bill in Utah history.

Sen. Kirk Cullimore is unveiling a plan he said will cut emissions along the Wasatch front by 50 percent by 2030.

Cullimore held an event at the Capitol on Tuesday unveiling the plan called Prosperity 2030.

“Utah has a well-deserved reputation for a great quality of life, a strong economy and being family friendly,” said Cullimore.“But our poor air quality is holding us back and could derail all of those things. It’s time to act.”

The framework includes tackling three major polluters: vehicles, homes and businesses, and  large “point sources” (smokestacks).

For cars, Cullimore is proposing new motor vehicle incentives for lower emission cars. This would help low income drivers afford them.

With homes and businesses, his bill proposes new building standards and incentives.

“50% reduction [of pollution] from homes and buildings through new building standards or offsets along with point-of-sale efforts to improve existing structures,” Cullimore’s proposal reads.

For industries, he’s proposing a simplified cap-and-trade program, which would set limits on large industrial polluters.

“I’m particularly encouraged that leaders from the most important sectors here — construction and the auto industry — are working with me to clean our air,” said Cullimore. “Cleaning the air is about creating jobs. I anticipate every $1 we invest in this will return $32 of economic growth.”

The plan also proposes an asthma fund to pay Utahns’ health costs affected by bad air.

Cullimore is the assistant majority whip in the Republican-led Legislature. 

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