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2022 Capitol Report

Electric Cars, Uranium + New Bill 

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Week two is now officially over! Last week we saw a few new bills introduced movement on bills our team is closely watching, all while experiencing not-so-great air quality. 

Let’s break this week’s highlights. 

Uranium

 This week we saw movement of SCR 3 Concurrent Resolution Highlighting Utah’s Rare Earth Mineral Position.

Utah currently has 28 of the 35 federally listed rare earth minerals needed for everyday technology. Current restrictions limit the extraction of some of these federally listed rare earth minerals. As we move towards renewable energy sources, there will be a need for more of these critical minerals. We currently import some of these minerals internationally, and sponsors would like to phase out dependence on international sources.

Why oppose: We understand the need for these federally listed rare earth minerals for our country to switch our energy infrastructure to renewables, but we need to proceed with this with our environment, communities, and economic well-being as a priority. Line 79-81 includes Uranium which is currently not listed as a federal rare earth mineral, and current reserves show sufficient stock for over 130 years; therefore, it should not be included in this resolution supporting Utah’s Rare Earth Mineral Position.

Cost: Reports show uranium demand has fluctuated in price anywhere from $21 to $50 a pound in the past five years alone. The need for and profitability of uranium have decreased since 2007, and although there has been a slight increase, this harmful mineral is still well below the price point and operates on a boom and bust cycle. 

Health: Utah’s irresponsible history of uranium extraction, use, and disposal is not only economically unviable but has also put communities at a higher risk of lung cancer, pneumoconiosis, and other health problems due to its exposure. 

Uranium Supply:  As of 2017, identified uranium reserves recoverable at US$130/kg were 6.14 million tons. At the consumption rate in 2017, these reserves are sufficient for slightly over 130 years of supply. Contact your representatives and urge them to amend SCR 3 

Electric Vehicles 

This week House Bill 221 Tax Credit for Alternative Fuel Vehicles was introduced. ( Good news!)

H.B 221 would enact income tax credits for the purchase or lease of an alternative fuel vehicle, such as electric cars. We support this bill because we all know the power of electric cars in combating climate change and air quality problems here in Utah. We also know that Electric vehicles are not always accessible, especially to underserved communities.

This bill would incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles and help alleviate a common concern when looking at electric cars… Cost. 

Diesel Emission reduction program.

This week Senate Bill 136  Air Quality Policy Amendments were also introduced (also good news!) 

We are very excited to see the introduction of House Bill 136, titled Air Quality Policy Amendments! This bill will task our air quality policy advisory board to create a diesel emission reduction program. As Utah becomes more developed and continues to grow, we need to continue watching and pushing for regulation to protect our community’s health and fragile air quality. This bill would incentivize diesels to adopt new, upgraded equipment with alternative fuel to reduce pollution and improve the air quality in Utah. We will keep you updated on any action needed as this bill has only been recently introduced. 

How to get involved

Not sure how to get involved with these bills? Join us in person or virtually for our citizen lobbying! You can also periodically check our Action Alert page, where email templates are ready for you.