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Dirty air gets attention of Governor Herbert

Dirty air, seen trapped here by a weather phenomenon known as a temperature inversion, is a focus of Gov. Herbert's proposed budget.

SALT LAKE CITY — Dirty air is back over the Salt Lake Valley just in time for Governor Gary Herbert’s recommended 2020 budget.  Gov. Herbert is pledging $100 million of that proposed budget for projects that would help clean up Utah’s dirty air.

“As we see the inversion starting to set in and air quality becomes more and more on our mind, we’re going to put in an unprecedented $100 million,” Herbert announced on Thursday.

The governor says that $100 million investment would help fund projects that have the highest impact on cleaning dirty air and improving air quality, including retrofitting older government buildings with technology that would allow for more energy efficiency while reducing emissions.

Also included in the proposed budget would be the introduction of measures designed to make it easier for state employees to work from home during bad air days.

The budget recommendation also includes keeping the state’s wood stove appliances replacement program going, citing a 2015 study that finds that there are still 110,000 wood burning appliances in homes across the Wasatch Front and Cache County.  Governor Herbert says these measures are a good start.

“We’ve done good things but we’re not where we need to be.  If we’re gonna have thriving communities and a successful quality of life, then we’ve got to address in a more direct fashion our air quality, and we’re gonna spend $100 million in this budget to do this very thing,” declared Herbert.

The state is also using money from a settlement from the Volkswagen case to replace diesel school buses and approve statewide electric vehicle charging infrastructure.