Salt Lake County signs compact for Utah to be ‘pragmatic’ leader in climate change

Downtown Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

Downtown Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. | Steve Griffin, Deseret News

Unanimous vote from Utah’s most populous county adds to bipartisan ‘groundswell’

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to join Mayor Jenny Wilson in signing onto a proclamation solidifying their commitment to responsible policies around climate change and clean air.

The proclamation adds county officials to a list of over 100 Utah leaders who came together in a virtual event last week to sign the inaugural Utah Climate and Clean Air Compact — a document encouraging the red state of Utah to be a “pragmatic trailblazer” among conservative states in addressing climate change and clean air solutions.

The Salt Lake County proclamation was supported by Democrats and Republicans alike on the council. They joined the ranks of a bipartisan coalition that includes U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. John Curtis, a Republican.

The compact’s signers commit their support to climate and clean air solutions and milestones laid out in “The Utah Roadmap: Positive Solutions on Climate and Air Quality,” a document produced by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute last year using funding provided by the state Legislature. The roadmap is meant to assist with making policy to improve air quality and address the causes and impacts of climate change.

Using that roadmap, a steering committee of Utah business, policy and clean energy leaders drafted the compact. The document is part of a larger effort to depoliticize the issue of climate change and concentrate on solutions.

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“We want to be a red state that leads out on this very important issue,” Christian Gardner, president and CEO of The Gardner Co. and one of the leaders of the Climate Compact Steering Committee, told the County Council on Tuesday. “This is something that’s impacting our kids and future generations. We need to take the politics out of this issue and come up with pragmatic solutions and start a dialogue that everybody can work around to help solve it.”

Gardner said he believes the compact will start a “groundswell” of solutions and position Utah to be a “blueprint for other states.”

Wilson told the Salt Lake County Council the compact and its principles will act as a “framework for action at the county.”

Wilson noted the county has “already done many things” for sustainability initiatives, including converting much of the county’s fleet to electric vehicles and supporting the building of light rail infrastructure.

Last year, Salt Lake County also signed onto the Community Renewable Energy Act, which creates a pathway for participating communities to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030. In February, the mayor’s new Office of Environmental Services created the first-ever county emissions inventory to better track and understand its own emission footprint and improve operations. That has spurred ideas like expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure to purchasing hybrid or electric passenger cars, according to county officials.

“Achieving emission reductions is a key goal in …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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