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"In Salt Lake City, we are committed to doing what we can right now to address the climate change impacts that are already being felt at a local level, and will only become more challenging," said Becker upon receiving the award.
"Setting goals for ourselves like constructing net-zero public facilities is one of the many things we can do as a community to help address the mitigation and adaptation necessities that will ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for our city."
President Obama’s key points
Increase energy efficiency so cars get more miles per gallon, appliances use less electricity and businesses heat and cool with less power.
Have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency start setting greenhouse gas limits on new and existing power plants.
Strengthen the nation’s position as the world’s top natural gas producer to generate low-carbon power during its clean-energy transition.
Expand permitting for renewable energy projects like wind and solar on public lands.
HEAL Utah, a Salt Lake City-based environmental group, praised the new White House initiative on Tuesday for helping to clean up Utah’s skies along with promoting alternative energy and cutting greenhouse gases. The group also took to task Rocky Mountain Power, which operates three coal-fired power plants in Utah and four gas-fired ones.
"Rocky Mountain Power has failed in any significant way to clean up what is the West’s most polluting energy portfolio," says Christopher Thomas, HEAL’s executive director. "The damaging health and environmental impacts of coal pollution have never been clearer, yet Rocky Mountain Power continues to bury its head in the sand."
Sarah Wright, director of Utah Clean Energy, welcomed the president’s focus on planning for a clean energy future — through efficiency, renewable energy and carbon regulation — that is "in the best interest of all of us."
"This plan puts front-and-center the fact that we do not have to choose between our economy and our health, and quality of life," she said. "In fact, the plan recognizes the immense economic benefits that comes with clean energy, both for our business community and everyday Utahns."
The Colorado-based Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development praised the idea of balancing protecting the environment with responsible energy development.
"We just want to make sure it’s done thoughtfully," said Kate Zimmerman, the National Wildlife Federation’s public lands policy director. "We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of poorly planned oil and gas development that has threatened some of our most cherished wildlife and wild places."
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