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Clean Air Champion: Chevron

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Air quality remains a critical economic issue for Utah’s business community, which is why companies large and small from throughout the state are leading the way to address these challenges. From incentivizing employees to reduce their vehicle trips, to improving building energy efficiency or installing electric vehicle charging stations, the business community continues to work together to find solutions that best fit their company culture and employee and customer needs; illustrating that together, businesses can make a difference for our air. While there is no silver bullet to solving air quality concerns, one of the most impactful changes is that Utah’s refineries are choosing to switch to the production of cleaner Tier 3 fuels. (To learn more about Tier 3 fuels, refer to this white paper written by the Governor's Environmental Advisor Alan Matheson).

Utah is home to three locally owned and operated and two national refineries, all of which play an important role in the state’s continued economic competitiveness. According to the Utah Foundation, 90 percent of the gasoline sold in the state comes from a Utah or Wyoming refinery. This means that the the full implementation, with cleaner vehicles, of Tier 3 fuel would result in significant vehicle emissions reductions--essentially taking 4 out of every 5 cars off the road.

Even without the newer vehicles, the Utah Division of Air Quality estimates that Tier 3 fuel will immediately reduce mobile emissions between 7 to 11 percent. This means that the move to Tier 3 fuels represents an immediate and long-term difference for our air quality and in turn, our economy and quality of life.

Utah’s largest refinery, Chevron, has long been at the forefront of efforts to positively address air quality along the Wasatch Front. Recently, the company announced their commitment to reconfigure their North Salt Lake refinery to produce and sell Tier 3 fuels by the end of 2019. This a significant step forward in Utah’s efforts to improve air quality, helping to reduce vehicle tailpipe emissions, the largest contributor of emissions in the state.

The EPA allows for considerable flexibility for the nationally operated refineries. If not for the recent steps taken by Chevron, Utah would not enjoy the full benefits of these cleaner fuels. This also demonstrates the company’s commitment to improving our air and providing the best possible quality gasoline for Utah consumers.

Of course, switching to Tier 3 fuel production is only one tool to help solve Utah’s air quality challenges. Chevron has employed a multi-faceted strategy to ensure they do their part as a corporate citizen to make a difference across the state. For example, since 1990, Chevron has reduced its facility emissions by 90 percent while producing more quality and affordable fuels for their customers. In addition, the company actively works to develop new projects that will further reduce their emissions. One of the most exciting ways Chevron supports improving local air quality is through their $300,000 investment in various Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) programs which primarily focus on addressing area source emissions --- helping all of us do our part to improve Utah’s air quality.

Chevron serves as a strong example of business leadership by recognizing there are various ways to solve air quality problems. The actions taken such as announcing their plan to produce Tier 3 fuels, investing in air quality education and outreach programs and doing their part to reduce their facility’s emissions will continue to benefit the state’s economy and make a positive impact on Utahns quality of life for years to come.  

Click here to see Lane Beattie’s statement at the announcement of Chevron’s decision.

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Clean Air Champions: Provo City and Envision Utah

Air quality is certainly not just a Salt Lake City issue; it affects quality of life and economic development throughout the state of Utah. So when it came to finding ways to make a difference for our air, Provo City leaders decided to take matters into their own hands. With the help of Envision Utah, they created the “Provo Clean Air Toolkit”, a website providing a centralized list of strategies and specific tools residents and businesses can implement to achieve cleaner air in Utah County. This successful partnership between Provo City and Envision Utah serves as a model for how other municipalities, organizations and businesses can work together to solve Utah’s unique air quality challenges.

The Process

Beginning in 2014 and culminating with the website launch this January, the idea started with the passion of the now-former Provo City Council member Hal Miller. Miller’s passion for addressing air quality issues and his tenacity on this project combined with a 2014 Utah Clean Air (UCAIR) grant and the partnership of Envision Utah, helped to ensure the toolkit process was completed in a collaborative and thorough manner. This collaboration was critical to accurately reflecting Provo resident’s ideas within the final toolkit.

“Our goal was to make sure that a number of stakeholders in the city were involved and on board,” said Ari Bruening, Envision Utah’s Chief Operating Officer. “We did this for a number of reasons, number one was to make sure that we included things in the toolkit that fit in Provo, that fit the values of the people in Provo, and could be implemented. Also, so that those who were involved would be excited about the outcome and willing to share it and spread the word.”

To hone in on the best way to present the toolkit and identify the types of strategies to include, Envision Utah hosted a series of stakeholder meetings. They invited the business community, the University, neighborhood chairs and a variety of City officials, to learn about air quality and what kinds of actions can make a difference, and then allowed the individual stakeholders to provide feedback about what they thought should be included in the toolkit.

Bruening said that from these meetings, it was determined a website would be the best format for the toolkit. “Whether you’re a resident or a business, it’s something you can easily access and click on and it would show you the tools that are appropriate for you,” he said. After building the website, Envision Utah brought it back to these stakeholder groups for more feedback and edits which led to the finished product, provocleanair.org.

Envision Utah works with organizations from across the state, but Bruening said collaborating with Provo was especially meaningful because of the City’s willingness to take the lead on addressing air quality.

Provo Mayor John Curtis recognizes there are steps everyone can take to make a difference for Utah’s air, and believes the toolkit brings those steps to the forefront. “Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with the problem being so large, but the toolkit is a way to break things down and provide people manageable tasks they can work on,” he said.

A Model for Success

Since the launch of the website in January, Curtis believes the toolkit has been successful for not only Provo residents, but also city leaders. For example, he said the toolkit has rallied a group of volunteer employees who meet to discuss ways to make Provo more sustainable by providing a framework or “game plan” for other future sustainability initiatives.

“The task before us now is to make sure that this isn’t just a pretty website,” Curtis acknowledged. “I view that falling largely on the city, to first of all, set an example ourselves by working on [implementing] the toolkit strategies and making progress.”

Although not the original intent of creating the Provo Clean Air Toolkit, the process and website itself have become replicable models for other cities and organizations. Curtis thinks the accessibility of the website has allowed others to look at it and have a “we can do that!” reaction, inspiring them to see a path that they hadn’t seen before.

“We hope others will follow suit, even if you don’t live in Provo, a lot of what’s on the website is something anyone can do,” Bruening added.

For the business community, Curtis and Bruening agree the most important action an organization can take is to simply do something. Although it can be easy to feel like seemingly small contributions are meaningless, big changes come through many individual efforts.

“Most of us sit back and wait for someone else to solve the air quality problem, but my personal belief is that the best way to handle this is hundreds of thousands of people doing hundreds and thousands of small things,” Curtis said. “Yes, there are some big issues that need to be tackled, but much of what’s outlined in the toolkit is changing behaviors on a very simple level.”

For More Information:

Provo Clean Air Toolkit

Provo City Website

Envision Utah Website

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Clean Air Champion: Dell EMC

Dell EMC is committed to being a Clean Air Champion by being socially responsible. While doing “less bad” is critical, Dell EMC is taking action to do more good, by strengthening our communities and benefitting our environment.

 

Our "Legacy of Good" Goals include reducing our Greenhouse gas emissions by 50% before 2020 as well as developing and maintaining sustainability initiatives in our workplace. We are committed to achieving these goals by:

  • Choosing our new building site based on its next door proximity to the Vista Frontrunner station
  • Heavily subsidizing employee UTA Eco-Passes by 80%
  • Installing 8 Electric Vehicle charging stations for our employees
  • Rewarding carpooling and low-emissions vehicles with front row parking
  • Providing a secure indoor shelter for 38 bikes
  • Displaying the Air Quality forecast with tips on how to help on our digital signage
  • Having an idle-free campus
  • Offering alternative schedules and work-from-home options on bad air quality days
  • Encouraging use of Travel Wise to combine trips
  • Offering a 1 month free trial Eco-Pass for employees to try mass transit

Mass transit usage of Dell EMC employees avoided 695,410 miles on Utah roads and saved 3 tons of CO2 emissions for 2016.

General Manager and Vice President Vance Checketts using Frontrunner.

General Manager and Vice President Vance Checketts using Frontrunner.

Dell EMC rewards carpooling with prime parking.

Dell EMC rewards carpooling with prime parking.

Company paid Electric Vehicle charging station.

Company paid Electric Vehicle charging station.

Frontrunner approaching Vista Station and the Dell EMC Building.

Frontrunner approaching Vista Station and the Dell EMC Building.

Story and pictures provided by Windie Darrington, Business Operations at Dell EMC.

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Clean Air Champion: The University of Utah

On any given week day, around 50,000 students, faculty, and staff members travel to University of Utah’s campus and associated facilities. Given the sheer size of the U’s operations and commuting numbers, there is no question of whether the University’s population contributes to the air quality issues in the Salt Lake Valley. With the increasing awareness of the air quality problems and the mounting evidence of its negative health effects, Vice President Arnold Combe and Senior Vice Presidents Vivian Lee and Ruth Watkins organized the Air Quality Task Force. In 2015 the task force released its report, which described more than 30 strategic initiatives to reduce the U’s contribution to poor air quality events.

One of those initiatives was a wintertime commuter challenge, which came to be known as Clean Air for U: A TravelWise Challenge.

In 2016 the University of Utah Sustainability Office launched Clean Air for U using the same platform as the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Clear the Air Challenge. Clean Air for U is a month-long, campus-wide behavior change campaign to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips and the associated carbon emissions. Unlike Clear the Air, the U’s challenge takes place during the winter inversion season when students are on campus. The campaign emphasizes multiple ways to reduce trips, including walking, biking, riding transit, carpooling, and trip chaining in order to engage the widest audience possible. Opportunity drawings for prizes are done weekly and monthly, and in order to keep all of the community engaged, the drawings are targeted at giving everyone a chance to win—participants are eligible for weekly prizes if they log one trip that week and are eligible for challenge-end prizes for logging at least 15 trips. Additionally, the top 5 participants are invited to dine with the University’s senior vice president and chief sustainability officer, with whom they can discuss campus sustainability issues.

This year, the Sustainability Office has taken a more aggressive and integrative marketing approach for its Clean Air initiative, using a combination of strategic digital contact through email newsletters and social media and in-person contact through frequent tabling events throughout challenge. One such event was the U of U Clean Air Expo on Jan. 24, where several on- and off-campus organizations shared a variety of solutions to the valley’s air quality issues. The Sustainability Office staff used an oversized chalkboard to engage with the community and gauge, record, and display public commitments to actions to improve the air. So far, Sustainability staff and interns have personally spoken to more than 600 people about the challenge. These in-person engagement efforts, in tandem with consistent online social media and video promotion of the challenge, have helped to increase our community’s awareness of how their choices impact the air we breathe.

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Clean Air Champion: Salt Lake City

 
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Salt Lake City is committed to reducing emissions in our internal operations, as well as helping employees do their part to clear the air. With roughly 3,000 employees, Salt Lake City can make significant strides toward reducing air pollution by educating, motivating, and providing resources to our workforce. The City offers each full-time employee a UTA Eco Pass, as well as a SLC GreenBike annual membership to those who are interested. We also encourage teleworking, carpooling, and public transportation usage for work-related travel. Each July, Salt Lake City participates in the annual “Clear the Air Challenge.”

This winter, Salt Lake City decided to try something new by launching an internal “Clean Air Challenge” using our employee engagement platform, Empower SLC. Each week for four weeks, employees learned how they can reduce emissions. Themes were taken in part from UCAIR’s winter campaign, and included “What is an Inversion?”, “Health Effects of Air Pollution”, “Wood burning”, and “Be Idle-Free.”  

Each “Clean Air Challenge” theme had a lesson, video, quiz, and actions. Participation earned points and recognition for individuals and departments.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski sent several emails to all of SLC Corp’s employees, urging everyone’s participation and highlighting the difference we can make to air quality. This message resonated particularly well during a strong inversion the first week of February when we saw our highest participation rate.

As part of the “Clean Air Challenge,” we also encouraged employees to change their commuting behavior at least once a week by taking transit, carpooling, teleworking, or using active transportation to get to work. We received positive feedback from many employees:

 “I started working for Salt Lake City in June, and I didn’t know how much I would enjoy riding TRAX. I don’t have to deal with the stress of rush hour traffic, I have made some great friends, and I actually have time to read the book club book each month. I love mass transit!”

“It’s been surprisingly fun to take the bus so far. It does increase my commuting time, but I can read more and feel more educated when getting to work!”

“I started riding public transportation 2 years (ago) for economic & environmental reasons. I have found my experience to be very enjoyable and fulfilling.”

“Since the SLC GreenBikes are available year-round now, I’m learning that for most days in the winter (so far in January) you really can bike to work – even on super cold or snowy days.”

“My husband and I have had the opportunity to commute to work this week and it’s been fantastic! I like having a little bit of extra time with him as well having the feeling of making a little bit of a difference to help the community.”

Beyond employee engagement, Salt Lake City is working to reduce emissions from our overall municipal operations. Recent initiatives include:

  • Phasing out 2-stroke engines in maintenance equipment in favor of electric and/or 4 stroke engines that are ten-to-thirty times cleaner
  • Developing tailpipe emissions reduction plans for passenger and heavy duty vehicles for all city departments
  • Instituting a comprehensive Energy Management Plan for all city departments and producing Salt Lake City’s first Municipal Energy Benchmarking Report
  • Enhancing public awareness of our Idle Free Ordinance
  • Installing 23 new public electric vehicle charging ports in February 2017
  • Partnering with the University of Utah and Utah Clean Energy on the U Drive Electric program, which put 130 new EV’s on the road last fall.
  • Commencing a city-wide program to evaluate the energy use of large commercial buildings and encourage participation in the Skyline Challenge—this year in partnership with the Salt Lake Chamber.
  • Other Salt Lake City actions on air quality can be found at: www.slcgreen.com/air-slc
 

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Salt Lake City and Salt Lake Chamber partner on the Third Annual Skyline Challenge

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 As part of her mission to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and form strong partnerships with the business community, Mayor Jackie Biskupski is pleased to launch the Third Annual Skyline Challenge—this year with the Salt Lake Chamber joining the roster of partners.

The annual Skyline Challenge is a voluntary program to accelerate investment in energy efficiency from large commercial buildings and raise public awareness of building energy performance while creating jobs and fostering a stronger local economy.

According to the Utah Geological Survey, 68 percent of all electricity consumption and 41 percent of all natural gas consumption in Utah is represented by the commercial building sector alone.

Unlike transportation, which is quickly becoming cleaner, nearly two-thirds of our current building stock will still be standing 30 years from now. This makes energy efficiency improvements for existing buildings critical for improving air quality.

Since 2015, Salt Lake City has used the Skyline Challenge to motivate and recognize commercial building owners who are leading the industry with their commitment to air quality and energy efficiency.

“We continue to promote energy efficiency among our city’s commercial building owners and tenants because the impacts are so tangible,” Mayor Biskupski said. “Bolstering the efficiency of our largest buildings improves the air we breathe and puts money back into our pockets. It’s also key to achieving Salt Lake City’s ambitious climate goals over the coming years.”

Businesses that join the Challenge are encouraged to evaluate their building’s energy use, set energy savings goals, and conduct energy-saving improvement projects to meet or exceed those goals. This results in significant air quality and carbon reduction benefits, while also lowering energy costs for buildings.

Last year’s winners include Wingcrest, 170 S. Main, Intermountain Healthcare, and Rocky Mountain Power.

As part of their focus on how the business community can take actionable measures to improve air quality, the Salt Lake Chamber this year is joining forces with Salt Lake City to expand and promote involvement in the Skyline Challenge among Chamber members.

“The business community remains committed to improving Utah’s air quality,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “This partnership with Salt Lake City will help provide resources, tools and networking opportunities for businesses to be successful in their ongoing efforts to improve air quality and enhance the energy efficiency of their buildings.”

The Salt Lake Chamber also sponsors several other clean air programs, including the annual Clear the Air Challenge—which has saved more than 3,600 tons of emissions since its inception—and the new Clean Air Champions program, aimed at inversion mitigation strategies for businesses.

“With its participation in the Skyline Challenge, the Salt Lake Chamber brings with it an engaged group of Utah organizations that are already acting on clean air efforts,” Mayor Biskupski said. “We look forward to seeing what they can do as they direct their efforts to energy efficiency in buildings.”

The Skyline Challenge culminates in an annual awards event in July, during which the Mayor and the Chamber will recognize those buildings which have cut energy usage the most. Buildings outside of Salt Lake City, but located along the Wasatch Front, are encouraged to participate in the expanded Challenge this year.

In addition to the Salt Lake Chamber, other sponsoring partners of the Skyline Challenge include Rocky Mountain Power, Questar Gas, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Utah, EPA’s EnergyStar program, Utah Clean Energy, and the Utah Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

For more information, please visit: http://www.slcgov.com/projectskyline

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UCAIR Summit Recognizes Clean Air Champions

Utah Governor Gary Herbert together with renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker and Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) executive director Ted Wilson highlighted five years of success in improving Utah’s air quality at UCAIR’s second annual Air Quality Summit, held February 2nd at the Tower at Rice Eccles Stadium.

 “We have had great success improving Utah’s air quality, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Herbert.

Herbert also declared February 2, 2017 as “Ted Wilson Day” to honor Salt Lake’s Former Mayor and UCAIR Executive Director for his tireless work to make Utah a better place for future generations. Wilson is retiring later this month.

“Utahns can accomplish anything when we work together,” said Wilson. “The future of Utah’s air quality is in good hands thanks to the remarkable partners UCAIR has had the pleasure of working with.”

UCAIR also recognized three outstanding organizations for their contribution to improving Utah’s air:

Zions Bank: Business of the Year

Zions Bank leads the way not only their individual efforts on clean air, but also by providing leadership in the business community. Highlights of Zions Bank’s efforts to improve Utah’s air include encouraging employees to TravelWise, financing projects that provide better air quality efficiency for power generation and transportation and sponsoring clean air initiatives like the Energy-Air conference and UCAIR’s Bright Sky initiatives, a competition of innovations in air quality technology.

Non-Profit Organization of the Year: Utah Clean Energy

Utah Clean Energy is a leader in approaching air quality solutions in a broad and integrated way. Some of their achievements include supporting the strong movement for renewable energy through solar installations, working with power utilities to expand energy efficiency and sponsoring an incentive programs for those purchasing electric vehicles stimulating almost 200 electric cars now on the road.

Clean Air Person of the Year:  Provo Mayor John Curtis

Mayor Curtis is commonly known as a “Green Mayor in a Red City” for his ongoing efforts on clean air and sustainability. He formed an air quality action team with the assistance of City Councilman Hal Miller and Don Jarvis of Provo Sustainability, organized a clean air tool kit available on Provo City’s website, established an air quality task force with the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, promoted anti-idling at local schools and funded an air quality education program for school children.

Congratulations to Zions Bank, Utah Clean Energy and Mayor Curtis! Thank you for your comittment to clean air. 

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Clean Air Champion: Utah Department of Technology Services

The Utah Department of Technology Services encourages the use of alternative transportation as one tool to motivate employees to improve our air quality. Below is an example of the Automated Geographic Reference Center, a division of the department, and what they do to help keep our air clean while staying healthy and active. Their story proves that making changes to your daily routine doesn't have to be difficult, in fact making choices to improve air quality can be fun when you get your coworkers involved. 

The Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) is the State of Utah’s map technology office and is located in the north office building of the State Capitol. For reasons of time efficiency, general fitness, and personal preference, on a typical day, 3 to 6 of the 13 staff members make the commute to work by bicycle. Throw in 3 staff who commute by bus and train daily, and AGRC has a low parked-car-to-employee ratio.

Bikes and maps go together as ‘bike maps’. AGRC has been asked to advise the Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Director on working with local government and other trail stewards, to compile a statewide map layer of bike trails and routes. Bert Granberg, AGRC’s Director said, “Oddly enough, some of the best ideas for work have come when the pedals are turning and we’re trying to get to or from work in one piece.”

Proximity is a huge advantage for bike commuting and the AGRC biking crew live between 2 and 7 miles from the Capitol. For most of AGRC’s bike commuters, riding adds on only a few extra minutes compared to driving. If you ride 25 minutes each way and the round trip drive would take 30, that’s like getting a 50 minute workout that costs only 20 minutes of your day.

The Capitol has a secure, weather-proof bike storage locker and has showers and low-fee gym lockers. The state health insurance options, like many others, offer a small incentive for those who exercise regularly and stay fit which is enough to cover the cost of a bike tune or two every year.

Here are some fun facts about AGRC’s bike commuters:

• One AGRC staffer added bike commuting to his daily routine and subtracted car ownership as a part of a lifestyle change that led to losing 80 pounds in just over 6 months.

• Knee-high wool socks and battery-powered, frame-wrapped Christmas lights are signature winter riding gear for one AGRC commuter.

• Long before working at AGRC, one staffer attended a single Salt Lake City Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting and penciled in the 2nd and 3rd Avenue bike lanes as a suggested addition to the master plan. Despite moving several times and changing jobs, he’s still using these lanes on almost every commute.

• One AGRC staffer, has a very limited selection at the bike stores as he’s over 6′ 8″ tall.

• Bike commuting wasn’t enough for one staff member who took a week off to do a self-supported bike trip to Yellowstone National Park and back. He was an object of curiosity for several State Capitol commuters who recognized him as he pulled his trailer through Bountiful in driving rain during morning rush hour.

• To date, AGRC bike commuters have, knock on wood, no major accidents or moving violations on their records.

Story provided by Stephanie Weteling at the State of Utah Department of Technology Services. 

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Clean Air Champion: Rio Tinto Kennecott

We want to highlight the great strides taken by businesses all over Utah to implement clean air strategies and effectively help keep our air clean, save money, and improve our state’s economic development.

Steve Sands from Rio Tinto Kennecott chatted with the Salt Lake Chamber about what Rio Tinto has done to help improve Utah’s air quality and shared some tips on how businesses can get involved in making a difference for our air.

Rio Tinto Kennecott has been dedicated to improving air quality for several decades. For details about their efforts visit kennecott.com/environment.

Salt Lake Chamber's Building Utah Podcast with Steve Sands of Rio Tinto Kennecott:

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What is the Chamber's Inversion Mitigation Initiative?

 Winter inversion season is upon us, and that’s why the Salt Lake Chamber, in partnership with TravelWise and The Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR), is launching our Inversion Mitigation Initiative by encouraging businesses to engage their employees in simple voluntary actions that contribute to decreasing vehicle emissions and keeping our air clean.

By completing a simple form and selecting which TravelWise strategies your business will implement, your company or organization will be considered a Salt Lake Chamber Clean Air Champion. Clean Air Champions are business leaders in our community that show dedication to our State’s well being and benefit from bottom line savings, enhanced employee morale and recognition from business community peers. With your commitment to improving air quality, especially during the inversion season, the Chamber will recognize your efforts by sharing best practices and highlighting your successes to other businesses and the general public.

Poor air quality can negatively affect company and employee recruitment, increase health care costs, place additional regulatory burdens on business and even put Utah’s federal highway funding at risk. By making decisions that improve air quality, businesses and employees will help to strengthen our economy and prevent these outcomes.  

UCAIR said it best in a recent blog post: “we can’t control when inversion will come or go, but we can control the emissions we release. Even simple changes to our daily routine can have a big impact on Utah’s air quality.” Echoing their words, the Salt Lake Chamber believes that as the Utah business community works together, we can reduce the negative effects of inversion and improve our air quality.

To participate in the Chamber’s Inversion Mitigation Initiative or for more information, click "Inversion Mitigation" in the menu at the top of this page.

 

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