Representatives from Park City Municipal Corporation, Summit County and the Utah House Democrats met to reaffirm their commitment to the environment Sunday, in anticipation of the state legislative session.
About 30 people gathered at City Park for the event, which began with a prayer by a Navajo member of the activist organization SLC Air Protectors.
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman spoke to the city’s commitment to be green and made a point to mention that, while the city government is non-partisan, Park City will align itself with any party that supports environmental sustainability. Beerman showcased the use of electric buses throughout town, the intent to be net-zero in energy consumption by 2030 and the recent approval of a bond to preserve Treasure Hill as open space.
“Over the last 30 years, we’ve preserved over 10,000 acres of open space; preventing sprawl, preventing unnecessary growth and allowing us to have dense, connected communities that can live more in harmony with the planet," Beerman said. "And I do want to point out this hillside, if you look up there, just a few months ago our community approved a bond to purchase that hillside, heading off a commercial development that was going to be up to a million square feet. Let me put that in perspective: that is a Main Street-sized carbon footprint. That’s a big bullet dodged, and we were pleased to see the community step up—78% of the community voted to tax themselves to preserve that hillside.”
House Minority Leader Brian King, who represents a portion of Summit County, previewed a few bills, including legislation enforcing car-idling restrictions and promoting the use of tier-three gasoline.
King says newly elected Rep. Suzanne Harrison, a Democrat from Draper, has a couple of bills pertaining to the environment, one of which also attempts to help kids safely walk to school.
“One is encouraging safe routes to school. We talked about urban planning—Mayor Beerman talked about this—coming up with better methods to ensure that people can walk to rather than drive to places that they need to go, whether it’s school, whether it’s stores, whether it’s shopping, community events," King said. "That’s something that she’s working on, in a bill that has yet to be numbered, but it specifically focuses on safe routes to school for our families and kids.”
In his budget proposal for the year, Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert expressed a desire to spend $100 million on air quality improvement efforts.