2024 Legislative Recap

A Recap of the 2024 Legislative Session's Impact on Utah's environment and its people

Highs and Lows of the 2024 Legislative Session

Let’s be honest about the 2024 legislative session: it was tough. Initially we saw the introduction of many bills that could have cleaned up our air, pushed renewable energy, and protected our communities from radioactive and toxic waste. But unfortunately most of them didn’t make it past the finish line.


It’s frustrating, no doubt. But we do want to celebrate the few wins we accomplished with your help! Your involvement made a real difference. Whether you were  lobbying in person or giving public comment virtually.


So, before we dive into the nitty-gritty, we want to give you a massive shoutout. Seriously, your dedication kept us going through the highs and lows of this session.

Save our Great Salt Lake Protest during the 2024 legislative session

Major Wins

With your help, we were able to stop 3 major bills regarding mining and fossil fuels and help advocate for legislation to fund alternative transportation to help lower vehicle emissions. We even saw a deadline extension to helping communities achieve 100% net-renewable energy. While these wins are not everything we hoped for, they are still major wins. Here’s a breakdown of these bills. 

  • Parleys Canyon: We worked with over 500 supporters and partnering organizations to successfully stop Senate Bill 172 Protection Areas Revisions. This bill aimed to restrict local governments from challenging vested mining rights, making it harder to prevent projects like the proposed mine in Parleys Canyon. Additionally, we helped change House Bill 502 from a bill limiting city and county government’s ability to control or prohibit mining projects into a study bill.
  • Electric Vehicles: HEAL Utah met with lawmakers to discuss Senate Bill 155 Road Usage Charge Program Amendments. The bill proposed changes to a system that currently enables electric vehicles to pay their fair share of the road. If passed, this bill would have resulted in significantly higher tax rates for EV users. Thankfully, the bill did not move forward.
  • Alternative modes of transportation: We made progress in encouraging alternative and public transportation this year. With the help of lobbyists and partnering organizations, the House passed two laws: House Bill 449, Pedestrian Safety and Facilities Act Modifications, and House Bill 430, Local Government Transportation Services. These laws aim to reduce vehicle emissions by investing more in alternative modes of transportation. We also saw the reallocation of 1% of taxpayer funds from roads to public transportation, which could bring in millions of dollars for expanding our public transportation network.
  • 100% Net-Renewable Communities: Lastly, Senate Bill 214 Community Renewable Energy Amendments passed, which now allows major cities to reconsider signing up for 100% net-renewable energy, even if they missed the previous deadline or were hesitant to sign up initially.
  • Great Salt Lake and Mining: Lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that improves the management of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The bill aims to regulate mineral extraction, encourage the use of water-friendly technologies, and establish a water plan to protect the lake during low years. Although our team primarily only helped you connect with your lawmakers to support it, we should still celebrate this big win for the Great Salt Lake

Impact on Utah's Renewable Energy Future

During this year’s legislative session, there was a notable surge in the introduction of bills that aimed to create incentives and further invest in fossil fuel energy. Simultaneously, numerous attempts were made in discussions and proposed legislation to undermine Utahns’ desires to fund renewable energy projects on a state level. Despite advocacy efforts from environmental groups like HEAL Utah, community members, and even industry experts, many bills focusing on these issues passed into law. This disregarded the health, environmental, and economic implications of fossil fuel investment. Below are the bills that HEAL Utah worked in opposition to, as well as supported, in an effort to mitigate the continued reliance on fossil fuel energy.

Energy Bills that Passed

  • Oppose: House Bill 124 High Cost Infrastructure Development Tax Credit Amendments passed and amends the definition of “energy delivery project” to include geothermal, hydroelectric, and nuclear systems, and introduces “emissions reduction” and “mineral processing” project definitions for high cost infrastructure tax credit eligibility
  • Oppose: House Bill 191 Electrical Energy Amendments passed and sets conditions for when Utah Public Utility Facilities stop electric generation, specifically coal fired plants, from closing prematurely if upgrades can extend their operational life and prevents closure decision from being influenced by federal incentives.
  • 👀 Watching: Senate Bill 214 Community Renewable Energy Amendments passed and removes the deadline of December 31, 2019 for a municipality or county to adopt a resolution to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030 related to the community renewable energy program.
  • Oppose: Senate Bill 224 Energy Independence Amendments passed and will extend the operation of coal-fired power plants by establishing funds for utilities like Rocky Mountain Power. This would allow them to keep running these plants, ultimately at taxpayers’ expense, and even create a fund for utilities to dip into to pay for wildfire damages.
  • Oppose: House Bill 48 Utah Energy Act Amendments passed and modifiesthe duties of the Office of Energy Development, potentially hindering Utah’s progress towards renewable energy by prioritizing fossil fuel production and opposing federal policies supporting renewables.
  • Oppose: House Bill 374 State Energy Policy Amendments passed and modifies the state energy policy, placing affordability, sustainability, and “clean” at the bottom of the list of priorities.
  • Oppose: Senate Bill 161 Energy Security Amendments passed and creates a new process for shutting down power plants that allow the state to purchase the Intermountain Power Project’s coal units, prioritizing the preservation of coal over renewable energy.

Energy Bills that Didn’t Pass

  • Oppose: Senate Bill 120 Intermountain Power Agency Modifications failed to pass and attempted to modifies the board members of the Intermountain Power Agency: the Utah Legislature would hold 4 of the 7 seats, 2 would come from local power entities, and 1 would be appointed by the governor.
  • Support: Senate Bill 191 Grid Enhancing Technologies failed to pass and attempted to establish a program to incentivize utilities to deploy technologies which enhance the electrical grid.
  • Support: Senate Bill 249 Public Utility Expenditures Amendments failed to pass and attempted to prohibits a utility from recovering rates expenses from lobbying, advertising, and political activies
  • Support: House Bill 577 Utility Shut Off Protection Amendments failed to pass and attempted to prohibits an essential utility provider from terminating services (water, gas, or electricity) during extreme weather. It also requires a utility provider to provide notice including information about the program prior to disconnection during severe weather.
  • Support: Senate Bill 189 failed to pass and would have altered the credit rate awarded to residential and small businesses rooftop solar customers of a large-scale electric utility by setting it to at least 84% of an average utility customer’s average monthly costs. Hopefully, this bill will go to the interim, where we will continue to push for a net metering rate that supports rooftop solar customers.

Impact on Protecting Utah from Air Pollution

While the 2024 Legislative Session may not have been as focused on air quality as in previous years, significant pieces of legislation have been passed that have left much uncertainty regarding federal and local safeguards for Utah’s air quality. From passing legislation that allows Utah to challenge state and federal regulations to debates over mining legislation and public transportation, the session addressed a range of issues impacting air quality and environmental well-being. Additionally, attempts were made to save the Great Salt Lake further, although only a handful of measures successfully became law. Below are the specific bills that HEAL Utah worked in opposition to, as well as supported, in an effort to safeguard and improve Utah’s air quality.

Air Quality Bills that Did Pass
  • Support: House Bill 85 Electric Bike Amendments passed and will clarify definitions of electric bicycles such as clarifying that an electric assisted bicycle is not a moped or motorcycle.
  • Support: House Bill 449 Pedestrian Safety and Facilities Act Modifications passed and now requires bicyclist safety be “considered” in street design (in addition to pedestrian safety), enhances guidelines for pedestrian and bicyclist safety devices, and allows a portion of B&C funds be spent on these devices when appropriate to the road.
  • Support: House Bill 430 Local Government Transportation Services passed and allows for “high growth cities” to propose public transit innovation grants to provide bus routes, shuttle service, or services like free or reduced fare in the UTA service areas.
  • ✅ Support: House Bill 453 Great Salt Lake Revisions: Passed and improves Utah’s management of the Great Salt Lake by regulating mineral extraction, promoting water-friendly technologies, and establishing a water distribution plan to protect the lake’s water levels during low years. 
  • 👀 Watching: House Bill 502 Critical Infrastructure and Mining passed and Initially aimed to restrict city and county governments ability to control or prohibit mining projects like the one proposed for Parleys Canyon, but due to public mobilaizaton and efforts from organizatons like HEAL Utah this law will now only require a study on critical infrastructure materials operations and related mining activities.
  • Oppose: House Bill 353 Mining Operations Amendments passed and now will limit public engagement and judicial oversight in challenging inappropriate mining permits. These restrictions undermine critical tools for safeguarding air quality and environmental protections.
  • Oppose: Senate Bill 57 Utah Constitutional Sovereignty Act passed and will now allow Utah the authority to challenge presidential executive orders or federal regulations perceived to infringe upon the state’s sovereignty. This bill raises concerns about potential delays in vital air quality regulations and costly litigation.
  • Oppose: House Bill 373 Environmental Quality Amendments passed and will now make changes to the air quality advisory boardm giving more power to the coordination council and adding members from the manufacturing and fuels industries.
Air Quality Bills that did not pass
  • Oppose: Senate Bill 172 Protection Areas Revisions failed to pass and attempted to limit local governments’ ability to challenge vested mining rights, making it more challenging to protect the environmental and public health of communities. 
  • Oppose: Senate Bill 155 Road Usage Charge Program Amendments failed to pass and attempted to weakens the Road Usage Charge Program, creating additional charges to electric vehicles and excluding hybrid vehicles.  
  • Support: House Bill 109 Safe School Route Evaluations failed to pass, attempted to requires a school traffic safety committee to include recommendations for infrastructure improvements in child access routing plans submitted Department of Transportation and municipal and county highway authorities.
  • Support: House Bill 65 Active Transportation and Canal Trail Amendments failed to pass and attempted to requires the state to inventory certain canals, directs UDOT to develop a canal trail toolkit for municipalities, and allows the Transportation Commission to consider canal trails for corridor preservation as part of the Utah Trails Network.
  • Support: House Bill 126 Emissions Regulation Amendments failed to pass and attempted to restrict high NOx emissions vehicles over 14,000 lbs. in certain counties and bans medium to heavy-duty trucks with high NOx emissions in specified counties.
  • Support: House Bill 279 Air Quality Amendments failed to pass and attempted to mandates 50% reductions in air pollutants, including fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, in the Wasatch Front area by 2033, would have required state agencies to create emissions reduction plans
  • Support: Senate Bill 142 Lawn Equipment Tax Credits failed to pass and attempted to creates a 30% tax credit on retail sale of electric-powered lawn equipment for residential and commercial use.
  • Support: Senate Bill 170 Clean Truck Incentive Program failed to pass and would have created a medium and heavy duty zero emission truck exchange grant program.
  • Support: House Bill 473 School Transit Amendments failed to pass and would have created the “Transit Access Pass for Students” pilog grant program, which would have been a three-year pilot program to provide funding to schools to provide free public transit passes to the students, parents, and staff.

Impact on Protecting Utah from Radioactive and Toxic exposure

In addition, this year witnessed legislation that expedited and incentivized mining for minerals essential for renewable energy, but with a lack of safeguarding communities against toxic and radioactive waste from future mining projects. Definitions were broadened to classify nuclear energy as “clean” without specific policies to manage the waste produced, whether from nuclear or other energy sources. Below are the specific bills that HEAL Utah worked in opposition to, as well as supported, in an effort to safeguard our communities from radioactive and toxic exposure.

Toxic and Radioactive Exposure Bills that Did Pass
  • ✅ Support: House Bill 107 Recycling Facility Transparency Amendments passed and defines a recycling facility and requires political subdivisions to publish data about the collection of recyclable materials collected by a recyclable material hauler.
  • ❌ Oppose: Senate Bill 156 Tax Modifications introduces a new tax rate for uncontained and unprocessed class “A” radioactive waste transported through Utah, intended for long-term storage at a disposal site in the state. It also permits the facility to qualify for Utah’s High-Cost Infrastructure Tax incentives if eligible.
  • ❌ Oppose: House Bill 407 Eminent Domain Modifications passed and now restrict the eminent domain rights of private individuals in areas designated for public mining, encompassing various mining-related activities, which could potentially limit property rights and community input regarding mining operations.
  • ❌ Oppose: House Bill 241 Clean Energy Amendments passed and changes “renewable” with “clean” in the Utah code concerning energy generation and includes nuclear energy, along with systems like carbon capture as clean energy sources.


Toxic and Radioactive Exposure Bills that Didn’t Pass
  • ❌ Oppose: Senate bill 75 Mineral Amendments failed to pass and attempted to add “critical mineral deposit”, changes tax credit limits for mining exploration, and requests federal consultation regarding critical mineral deposits.

Looking Forward

Despite the significant setbacks on renewable energy and the lack of regulation on air pollution and radioactive and toxic waste, HEAL Utah remains committed to advocating for the well-being of our communities and environment. As we look to the future, our focus is on pushing forward legislation that prioritizes:


  • Protecting Our Communities from Air Pollution
  • Building an Inclusive Energy Future
  • Building Climate Resilience and Health Equity
  • Protecting Our Communities from Toxic and Radioactive Waste


As we gear up for the Interim session, where legislation is drafted and discussed, HEAL Utah will actively engage with Utah community members to develop and advocate for impactful policies. We are focused on expanding public transportation to reduce vehicle emissions, promoting both small and large-scale renewable energy projects to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, and implementing measures to prevent further radioactive or toxic waste from entering our state among many of our initiatives. We look forward to continue working alongside you! 

Support our Legislative Work

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2024Community Lobbyist

Check out our blog for highlights of our community lobbyist training program and successes of this year!

Session is over now what?

Curious about what happens after legislative sessions? Dive into our blog post on the Interim session!