Whether liberal or conservative, we all need clean air to breathe. Our health, our well-being, and Utah’s outdoor recreation-based economy depend on clean air. While this seems obvious, partisan politics often fails to stop the denigration of the air, water and land, and we continue to dispose our harmful wastes into the air we breathe.


No politician would admit to prioritizing polluters over our children, but that’s what many of our elected representatives are doing. Polluting industries with high-paid lobbyists have convinced many lawmakers and attempted to persuade the public that we must choose between jobs and a healthy environment for us and our children. That is nonsense. In the United States of America, it’s nonsense to hold that we can't have good jobs and clean cities. It’s not a real choice—it’s a threat—what wealthy polluting industries say to the American people, "Let us pollute or we’ll take your jobs elsewhere." Again, that is nonsense.

Partisan Politics Endangers Creation and Our Health.

In fact, since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and tougher regulations were implemented, air pollutants have decreased by 68% while our GDP has grown by 212% and private sector jobs grew by 88%. Cleaner air has been shown to have reduced health care costs and contributed to a growing economy by keeping more workers healthier.


“Either jobs or clean air”… is a false choice. The two are not mutually exclusive, and can be complementary. A 2011 study has calculated that with the Clean Air Act and its amendments, benefits will exceed costs by 30 to 1 by the year 2020!


In addition, requirements for more stringent pollution controls spurs innovation in science, technology and development, and creates jobs for those who design, develop, make, market, install and maintain pollution abatement equipment. When a large company spends millions of dollars on pollution controls, those millions don't disappear. That investment goes directly into our economy. See this and/or this reference.


Industry doesn’t exist to make jobs for a community. Industry exists to make a profit. In pursuit of higher profits, many businesses will gladly replace workers with robots or computers whenever possible. They lay off workers when commodity prices are low. And if it’s in their interest, they move to countries where labor is cheap and where worker protections and environmental regulations are lax or non existent.


There is nothing inherently wrong with companies pursuing profit. The trouble arises when businesses pursue profit both at the expense of public health and the health of the environment, and falsely claim that cleaning up will cause great harm to the economy and cost many jobs.

© 2016 UVEF

By far, the most serious threat to clean air, our respiratory health, a healthy environment, and a healthy planet is our heavy reliance on fossil fuel energy (mainly coal, oil and natural gas) to power our vehicles, homes, businesses. Burning those carbon fuels creates the vast majority of our air pollution problem, both in Utah and worldwide. The single most effective thing we can do to curtail or even stop polluting the environment is to replace polluting energy with non-polluting, safe renewable energy, such as the abundant renewable clean energy from the sun and wind. It’s clear that government (especially at the state and federal level) is in the best and perhaps the only practical position to bring about that exchange. Voluntary action is clearly not up to the challenge.


Clean air and clean energy are not the responsibility of any one political party. Liberal or conservative, we all need clean air to breathe. Voters can and should expect Republicans, Democrats and independents to take air pollution very seriously. So when you vote, please consider the following—for your sake, for your family, for Utah and for all future generations:


      1. Does your candidate support strong effective legislation to move Utah away from its fossil fuel dependency and toward obtaining most all of its energy from non-polluting, safe, renewable sources in the most expeditious ways possible? A steadily increasing carbon fee with return of dividend would be a strong step forward.


      1. Check your candidates voting record. Have they supported or drafted legislation to effectively cut pollution?


      1. Does your candidate strongly support the EPA's efforts to clean and protect the environment or do they claim the EPA embodies government overreach?


      1. Does your candidate strongly support renewable energy or have they worked against renewables through policies such as higher fees for solar customers?


      1. Does your candidate support or oppose the federal Clean Power Plan?


      1. Does your candidate support programs to re-train workers in polluting industries for different, non-polluting jobs?


      1. Does your candidate support tough fines for companies that knowingly break environmental laws? And do they support appropriate funding for our state and municipal environmental permitting agencies?



In summation, we all need clean air to breathe. Your vote matters! Vote Smart and tell your candidates and elected officials to support robust, effective policies that promote both clean energy and clean, healthy air!


 

Jobs vs. Clean Air?  A False Choice.  Demand Both.

Utahns Can Vote to Fix the Problem.