New Clean Air Initiative Relies on Voluntary Efforts, Not Regulation

(KCPW News) A new, statewide initiative to improve air quality won’t include any new regulations, but purely voluntary efforts. As Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced Tuesday, the Utah Clean Air Partnership, or U-CAIR, is about getting individual Utahns to examine how they can make improvements.

“People are going to say if you don’t have teeth, if you don’t have some punishment, some stick to thump people with, it won’t happen. I reject that. I think that we can, as a community, come together, because we think it’s in our own best interest to improve the air quality, and working together in a voluntary fashion, I believe we can get good results,” he said.

Speaking at a compressed natural gas filling station in Salt Lake City, Herbert pointed to the “Slow the Flow, Save H2O” campaign as a successful example of people changing their habits voluntarily, saying it’s led to a 20 percent reduction in water usage.

Jonathan Johnson, President of Overstock.com, noted that Utah’s poor air quality is a hurdle for attracting businesses.

“I know that at Overstock.com, when we’ve had exit interviews for people leaving our company, some have said that it’s the bad air that was causing them to leave Salt Lake, so it’s important that we clean our air for those we’re trying to recruit to come here, and for those of us that live here with our families,” said Johnson.

Governor Herbert says the state will lead by example in the partnership, noting its fleet has 432 hybrid or clean-fuel vehicles, 81 of which run on compressed natural gas.