It’s official. According to newly released data from the 2020 census, Utah is the fastest growing state in the nation, with an 18% increase in population over the last decade. We have all noticed the increased traffic on our roads, the housing shortage and the bigger crowds at our trailheads and ski resorts. Some of you may have also noticed the increased air pollution. In fact, Salt Lake City reached another “top ten” list by ranking 8th in the nation for lung-damaging ozone pollution, according to the American Lung Association. We were also 17th for short term particulate pollution.
There is no doubt that a growing population leads to more pollution from our cars and our homes, but it is exacerbated by our changing climate. The western U.S. has experienced extreme drought conditions for some time. These hotter, drier conditions provide more fuel to burn during the wildfire season, leading to massive fires and increased levels of particulate matter in the air we breathe. It is imperative for our health that we find ways to grow in a sustainable manner.
One powerful first step solution for tackling both pollution and climate change is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR2307). It would put an increasing fee on carbon-based fuels at their sources and return all revenue to households as a monthly dividend check. This market-based solution would incentivize a transition to clean, renewable energy, putting us on the path towards net zero emissions by 2050 and reducing pollution-related deaths. At the same time, the dividend would help the economy grow and create jobs to support our growing population. Please ask your federal representative to support this important legislation.
Brandi Williams, Holladay