The annual Clear the Air Challenge is a month long initiative that encourages Utahns to utilize TravelWise strategies to improve air quality. It has motivated thousands of Utahns and hundreds of businesses to make a major impact through voluntary actions to improve our air.

Utah faces two distinct air quality challenges: winter inversion and summer ozone. The shared contributing factor to both is solved by collective voluntary actions.

It’s critical to understand that the quality of our air affects not only our residents’ health and life quality, but also our economy. Working towards clean air improves our state’s ability to attract new businesses, expand existing ones and recruit needed workforce to the state and bring valuable tourist dollars to our slopes, mountains and cities.  To address our inherit air quality obstacles the Salt Lake Chamber supports voluntary policy efforts to prioritizes public awareness and research, increase transportation options, incentivize cleaner vehicles and fuels and reduce the burdens for small business compliance.

We see these principles in practice, as the Legislature has significantly expanded the uses of transportation funding and several counties statewide have prioritized increased investment in alternative transportation options with the local option sales tax. Additionally, the Legislature has prioritized funding for public awareness and research, voluntary compliance programs and incentivized the purchase of cleaner heavy-duty vehicles. The Legislature has also extended incentives for Utah’s refineries to accelerate  adoption of Tier-3 fuel standards—a critical solution to improving both summer and winter air quality.

Additionally, The Chamber advocates that public policy should reflect the importance of personal responsibility in addressing our state’s air quality challenges. We all have a role to play in improving our air quality. The Clear the Air Challenge demonstrates that Utahns recognize the importance of improving our air quality. In fact, because of the challenge, Utahns have eliminated 907,260 trips, totalling 11,748,098 million miles. This has reduced emissions by 4,253 tons over the course of the past seven years. Last year, over 7,000 Clear the Air Challenge participants demonstrated the public and business importance of clean air.

Our choices matter. We can do better as we exceed previous records in this year’s challenge. Challenging our lawmakers to implement policies that utilize personal choice to solve air pollution is also a key step.

To learn more about how you can do your part to improving Utah’s air quality head to http://cleartheairchallenge.org