Poll: What Do Utahns Want Lawmakers to Do About Air Pollution?

SLC InversionUtahns want lawmakers to pony up for transit passes and clean energy tax credits to help improve air quality in the state.

A new UtahPolicy.com survey conducted by Dan Jones and Associates asked respondents what measures they would like lawmakers to take to reduce pollution.

  • 62% said they want lawmakers to offer tax credits for clean energy purchases like solar panels and electric or hybrid vehicles.
  • 55% want funding for discounted public transit passes during inversions.
  • 48% want stricter emission regulations on industry.
Curiously, Utahns aren’t ready for lawmakers to take more drastic measures for better air quality. 
  • Only 33% want stricter emissions requirements for cars.
  • About a quarter of respondents (28%) want to move refineries outside of urban areas.
  • Just 11% say lawmakers should mandate no-drive days.
“It’s going to take making some hard choices,” said Rep. Patrice Arent (D-Salt Lake City). “There’s not a lot of low-hanging fruit left. As we improve transit, that will help. Getting people out of their cars and encouraging people to find other ways to get to work. It’s a lot of different things.”
Democrats are much more for tighter regulations than their Republican counterparts.
– 66% of Democrats say they want stricter regulations on industry compared to 38% of Republicans.
– 54% of Democrats want tighter emission standards for automobiles while only 25% of Republicans favor that.
– 48% of Democrats favor moving refineries outside of urban areas compared to 21% of Republicans.
Gov. Gary Herbert touted the progress the state had made on improving air quality during his State of the State address on Wednesday night. 
“We have reduced total emissions by approximately 35% over the past ten years,” said Herbert. “But the data means very little when the inversion sets in, and those emissions hang in the valleys. There’s important work yet to be done.”
Arent says lawmakers have an appetite to tackle this issue this year, but it will be an ongoing effort.
“If you heard the Speaker’s opening remarks, he talked a lot about it. I do think this is a bipartisan effort, and I think legislators want to make progress.”
Jones surveyed 845 Utahns from January 6-13, 2016. Live telephone calls (both landline and cell phone) were used along with online means. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.37%.