In a year when legislators have focused on reducing air pollution, two more clean air bills hit the home stretch on Wednesday.
The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved HB19 to help expand infrastructure to recharge electric vehicles, and HB271 to increase penalties for altering or operating diesel vehicles in ways to produce black, dirty exhaust.
Both now go to the full Senate to be considered for final passage.
HB19 allows businesses to charge a fee for recharging electric vehicles without being regulated as a public utility — which would be required under current law.
Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, the bill’s sponsor, said fast-charging equipment is especially expensive, so retail and other businesses would like to recoup costs by charging customers, which they currently cannot do.
“It will make it more convenient, and help get more of these vehicles on the road,” as well as reduce pollution, said Kevin Emerson, representing Utah Clean Energy. He and Arent said electric vehicles now have a range of about 80 miles, and many businesses are interested in offering recharging stations to help attract them.
Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, said his HB271 is designed to stop people who alter diesel vehicles or operate them intentionally in ways that produce smoky exhaust.
“This is just saying don’t purposefully change your vehicle and do something to pollute our air,” said Perry, a Utah Highway Patrol lieutenant, who noted most modern diesel vehicles produce less exhaust which is not smoky.