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Lo que conseguimos juntos en 2022

What we achieved in 2022, together

2022 ANNUAL REPORT

With your help, we accomplished a lot in 2022

It takes a village to achieve our lofty goals every year, and it’s thanks to every single one of you that we were able to capitalize on all 365 days we had at our disposal in 2022. Together we know the impact our collective efforts have on our local community, the greater state of Utah, and the nation as a whole. So, it’s imperative that we reflect on all the hard work that our many dedicated volunteers, determined lobbyists, and generous donors contributed to our numerous efforts this past year.

 

Please enjoy this brief synopsis of HEAL’s achievements in 2022.

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In 2022, we hosted 45 events on topics ranging from sustainable development and climate change to air quality and radioactive waste. These events directly engaged over 6,480 people over the course of the year. 

Throughout the year, we organized 19 targeted actions that allowed our supporters to contact important decision-makers and share their views on various public policy proposals. HEAL informed over 110,416 individuals via digital platforms through numerous calls to action. These digital efforts helped 2,633 individuals contact decision-makers or submit public comments. All in all, our digital organizing reached over 358,098 people throughout the state.

 

If you’re looking to get involved, here’s a small sample of some of the events we hosted last year: 

 

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Sustainable and Efficient Building Codes

In collaboration with partnering organizations, HEAL hosted educational workshops encouraging individuals to advocate for updating Utah’s commercial and residential building codes. Over 25,000 individuals learned about the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code and its energy efficiency benefits through workshops and digital outreach.

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Protecting the Great Salt Lake

In collaboration with partnering organizations, HEAL hosted educational workshops, writing opportunities, and digital education for over 26,000 individuals on how to submit public comments on U.S. Magnesium’s attempt to divert more water from the drying Great Salt Lake.

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Expanding Compensation For Radioactive Exposure

Our team reached over 358,098 individuals, asking them to support a 19-year extension of the Radioactive Exposure Compensation Act—which HEAL helped convince Utah’s federal delegation to support in 2021. This extension would expand eligibility for communities harmed by radiation exposure across New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Guam, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

Nuestro trabajo

The historic passage of the Inflation Reduction Act at the federal level has provided unprecedented opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality while mitigating climate change impacts and accelerating a just energy transition for all Utahns.  As our population continues to grow, we are advancing equitable solutions like public transit, Smart Growth, energy storage, and building efficiency that are critical in the fight against climate change alongside renewable energy technologies and electrification.  

 

As momentum builds toward the necessary energy transition, we have also seen the critical need to monitor and respond to the current, present, and future environmental health threats posed by radioactive and toxic waste streams. We are committed to ensuring that we do not create yet more contamination victims as we move toward a clean energy future. 

 

While our efforts stretched well beyond these examples, here are some key campaign activities that we undertook in 2022: 

  1. Uranium Mining and Affected Communities: ​​In the Fall of 2021, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited Energy Fuels’ White Mesa Uranium Mill for violating the Clean Air Act due to an uncovered waste tailings cell. The EPA partially reversed its decision in Abril 2022, allowing White Mesa to receive Superfund waste again although the cell remains inadequately covered. HEAL has contacted the EPA and the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) to voice our concerns and express support for the White Mesa Community’s request for more accurate and substantive monitoring. Members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe are fighting against the active mill and held an annual Spiritual Walk and Protest that brought over 100 people to the White Mesa Community. HEAL’s policy team is supporting their work and was a sponsor of the walk. HEAL recently received news of another proposed uranium mill near Green River, Utah, on the site of the failed proposed Blue Castle nuclear power facility.  We are gathering information about this proposal and formulating a strategy for effective involvement. 
  2. Our EPA Grant: HEAL applied for and received our first-ever federal grant from the EPA in 2022. This $200,000 from the EPA funds a joint project of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, the University of Utah, and HEAL to put air quality monitoring equipment on electric buses in Salt Lake County. We’ll use the data to build a public website for residents to make more informed air quality decisions and advocate for reductions from notable emissions sources.
  3. Community Renewable Energy Program(CREP): In 2022, we partnered with SLC as community energy experts in the CREP program that will provide 100% net renewable energy by 2030 to customers in participating municipalities. In this role, HEAL provided information on how to best support renewable energy access for low-income residents, transition to a more sustainable energy system, and increase community engagement. In the spring of 2023, Rocky Mountain Power and the CREP Board will submit their plan to the Utah Public Service Commission.

Recapitulación legislativa

We remain committed to ensuring state laws and public policies promote renewable energy and clean air and protect public health from environmental threats. In addition, our work focuses on bringing new voices and more Utahns into the public policy process. We believe including more Utahns in the public policy process is as important as achieving policy success. This past year, we had our hand in no less than 50 amendments, bills, tax credits and refunds, and resolutions—below are a few big wins from 2022.

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HB156 | Sales and Use Tax Refund Amendments | Rep. Watkins and Sen. Fillmore

Would have enacted a refund of state sales and use tax paid by an oil and gas extraction establishment or a pipeline transportation establishment for machinery, equipment, and other standard operating costs. | HEAL opposed and successfully helped to stop the bill’s passage.

 

SB136 | Air Quality Policy Amendments | Rep. Handy and Sen. Escamilla
Requires the Department of Environmental Quality to study and recommend a diesel emissions reduction plan. | HEAL supported it, and lawmakers signed it into law.  

 

HB404 | Large Public Transit District Amendments | Rep. Ballard and Sen. Anderegg

Requires an extensive public transit district to compare the costs of different types of available zero-emissions propulsion systems for specific public transit projects. | HEAL supported it, and lawmakers signed it into law. 

Commitment to Environmental Justice in 2023 and Beyond

As previously mentioned, HEAL Utah received our first-ever federal grant in 2022 through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which supports our air quality work on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. Through this EPA project, HEAL Utah is partnering with Salt Lake County, the University of Utah, the Utah Transit Authority, and Salt Lake City to help place air quality monitors on electric buses traveling around the west side of the Salt Lake Valley (SLV). 

 

The EPA project is a three-year-long project with multifaceted goals, but the overarching aim is to evaluate the disparities in air pollution between Salt Lake’s east and west side.  This is done by establishing multiple control and testing routes throughout the Valley.  Control routes on the east side are compared to test routes on the west side, with several providing a cross-section of the Valley.

 

The EPA project will also help to accelerate upgrades of all Utah Transit Authority buses to electric buses, a transition that will benefit the lives and lungs of all Utahns. With the success of the EPA project, we will bring environmental protection and the importance of breathing clean air to the forefront of public and policy discussion. 

 

A valuable outcome of the project will be a more accurate depiction of the disparities in air pollution between the west and east sides. Understanding who faces higher exposure to pollutants is crucial for promoting public health, as air pollution fosters a multitude of health issues. These health factors, compounded with decreased access to healthy food and medical care, further harm the quality of life and longevity of people living on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. 

 

The EPA project and the data it produces will serve as an evidence-driven model for environmental justice advocacy work throughout the state of Utah.  Rather than speaking for underserved communities, the project will instead give them a platform to voice their own concerns and experiences with respect to their health and their environment.

Final Remarks

Breaking down a whole year’s worth of hard work into a couple dozen paragraphs is certainly more palatable, but we hope it doesn’t minimize the immense effort from our team to make a lasting impact on our community. 

 

We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our full-time staff, inspiring interns, trusted board members, and our many community partners and coalitions who contributed to our mission this past year. It’s only because of this team at large that we are able to create the change our community needs. 

 

Keep following along as we march through 2023, and please reach out to get involved if you want to join the adventure—we truly are more powerful together. 

 

If you want to learn more and explore the 2022 Annual Report in its entirety, you’re more than welcome to dive in here. 

Volunteer Highlight

Shoutout to Pat Romano, the dog-dad and finance & data professional from Hoboken NJ, who helped us create our stunning 2022 annual report!

 

When not crunching numbers, he loves flexing his creative muscles as a freelance graphic designer. He’s passionate about making a difference and uses his skills to help nonprofits through Catchafire (a platform that connects nonprofits with skilled professionals looking to give back), where we had the opportunity to connect.

 

We’re grateful to Pat for his design expertise and dedication to good causes like ours. Pat said, “It’s always fulfilling to collaborate with nonprofits, especially when I get to work on projects that align with my values. HEAL Utah is a fantastic organization making tons of great progress, and I’m grateful for the chance to support them.”