Heading into week 4: Bad EnergySolutions Bill & More!

Can you believe we’re already half way through the 2018 Utah state legislative session? We’ve got plenty of updates to carry you through this week. And remember, you can check the progress of the bills we’re tracking, right here.

Cartoon Courtesy of Pat Bagley. To see more of his art, click here.


Bill: HB171 – Motor Vehicle Emissions Amendments (Illegal Tampering bill)
Sponsor: Rep. Angela Romero, D, Assistant Minority Whip
HEAL Position: Support

Great news! Jessica testified to the House Transportation Committee on behalf of the bill with bill sponsor Rep. Angela Romero, and the help of experts from Davis County. The committee had a number of clarifying questions, but overall were in strong support of the bill! It passed out of the committee with a favorable recommendation with a 6-1 vote. One step closer to making it easier to get vehicles that have illegally-disabled emissions controls off the roads.

Bill: HB101 – Air Quality Emissions Testing Amendments (Diesel Emissions Testing bill)
Sponsor: Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, Floor sponsor: Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo
HEAL Position: Support

Rep. Arent’s bill to require diesel emissions testing in all nonattainment counties will be going to the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee bright and early Tuesday morning. We are hopeful that the new language agreed upon by the Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, which specifies a 3-year pilot program with a testing exemption for the 5 most recent model years, will resonate with committee members. Again, this bill is the result of a compromise with affected stakeholders. While we hoped for stronger language, this is a good first step to getting a fully implemented diesel emissions testing program in Utah County.

Bill: HB211 – Freight Switcher Emissions Mitigation
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Handy
HEAL Position: Support

Also being heard on Tuesday morning in House Natural Resources is Rep. Handy’s bill to get funding approved that would help to retrofit the locomotives that move cargo around in railyards, known as freight switchers. These vehicles are almost always idling, making them a big source of NOx in the valley. There have been concerns about whether the committee will agree that funding for this subsidy to Union Pacific, who own the freight switchers, will benefit air quality, but we hope we can help convince them it is a worthy investment.

Bill: HB 169 1st Substitute Commercial Waste Fee Amendments
Sponsor: Rep. John Knotwell, R-Herriman,Majority Assistant Whip. Senate Floor Sponsor Sen. Daniel Hemmert
HEAL position: Oppose

Summary: Shifts $1.7 million of Energy Solution regulatory fees to the taxpayer.  Reduces the annual permit and inspection fees for Energy Solutions by the amount of taxes they pay. Makes it cheaper for them to import more nuclear waste.

Status as of 2/12/18: The bill passed out of the Senate Business and Labor Committee this morning on a favorable vote of 6-0-2 and is now headed to a final vote of the full Senate.  We will issue an action alert when that vote is coming up so you can call or email your state senators.  That will be our last chance to stop this bill before it is sent to the Governor’s desk to sign.  At that point a Governor’s veto is the only strategy left. 

On 2/7, the Salt Lake Tribune published a strongly worded editorial against the bill.

House Concurrent Resolutions 001 and 007 

Sponsor: Rep. Ray Ward & Rep. Becky Edwards (Respectively)
HEAL position: Support

These two resolutions represent one of the first attempts to bring the discussion of climate change to the forefront of the legislature. While the resolutions differ in language, 001 represents a more scientific and blunt approach while 007 is more nuanced, both recognize climate change and humans contribution. The bills will be heard in the House Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Environment committee tomorrow morning.

House Bill 261 Renewable Energy Amendments
Sponsor: Rep. John Knotwell
HEAL position: Neutral

261 deals with some of the more technical aspects of solar development in the state of Utah. The bill would allow for Rocky Mountain Power to take advantage of a federal tax credit. The idea being the utility can compete directly for large-scale solar projects rather than bid contracts out to third-party developers. There have been concerns raised by the private solar industry about the fairness of the bidding process. Currently HEAL is neutral on the bill while negotiations continue between the industry and the utility. We hope an agreement is drafted to get all parties on board. 

Senate Bill 141 Electric Energy Amendments
Sponsor: Sen. Curtis Bramble
HEAL Position: Support

Stemming from the rooftop solar settlement last fall. 141 freezes the rooftop solar tax credit for two years at $1600. The freeze will allow the rooftop solar industry and Utah residents time to adjust to the new transition rate for solar customers. HEAL is supportive of this bill 

Senate Bill 157: Residential Solar Energy Admendments 
Sponsor: Sen. Lincoln Filmmore
HEAL Position: Support

Another bill stemming from the settlement. This bill creates a series of consumer protections for Utah residents against scammer rooftop solar sales. A problem in any rapidly growing industry. HEAL is supportive of this bill.

Clear the Air Challenge 

We’re nearly half way through the “Clear the Air Challenge”. It’s not too late to join! Drive down your miles today. 

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