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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

Salt Lake County to Require its Fleet to Only Fill Up with Tier 3 Gas to Reduce Air Pollution, Challenges Other Operations and Public to Follow


October 13, 2021

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Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced a new standard for government operations on Wednesday when she committed Salt Lake County to only purchase Tier 3 gas for the County’s fleet in yet another step to reduce air pollution and improve air quality in Salt Lake County.

Salt Lake County is the first entity of its kind in the State of Utah to require this from its fleet of vehicles operated by employees.

“Purchasing Tier 3 gas is a simple way to reduce emissions and contribute to improving our air quality,” Mayor Jenny Wilson said. “Air quality is a top priority in my administration, and we’re putting action behind that. We challenge all other entities, businesses, and residents to make this same commitment to only purchase Tier 3 gas moving forward.”

Vehicles operating with Tier 3 gas are known to significantly reduce harmful emissions by as much as 80% if they were made after 2017 with Tier 3 efficiency standards, and by 13% per week if the vehicles are older, due to EPA regulations in Tier 3 gas that minimize the sulfur content.

Many in the public might not be aware that Tier 3 gas is an easy way to contribute to improving our air quality, an issue that consistently ranks among Utahns’ top concerns. These reductions in vehicle emissions, the largest contributing source to the region’s total emissions, can make a critical impact in reducing ozone and particulate pollution.

“Having cleaner, lower-sulfur Tier 3 gasoline available in Utah is an important part of the long-term strategy for reducing air pollution,” said Ashley Miller, Breathe Utah Executive Director. “We applaud Salt Lake County for leading out on best practices for fleet vehicles and hope others will soon follow.”

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While several gas station retailers across Utah purchase from refineries that have made the switch to producing Tier 3 gas, not all refineries have embraced this EPA standard, which is why it’s important for consumers to know which gas station retailers consistently provide Tier 3 gas, regardless of the grade. Shell, Speedway, Sinclair, Exxon, Chevron, and Texaco provide Tier 3 gas at all their pump locations. Other retailers might differ in the type of gas available based on location at any given time.

To make it easier to identify where to fill up with Tier 3 gas near you, Rep. Suzanne Harrison spearheaded the innovative creation of a website and map for residents to use that was launched in 2020.

“At times our air quality issues can seem insurmountable,” said Rep. Suzanne Harrison, “But doing your part to clean our air can be as simple as changing where you fill up your car. Tier3Gas.org lists the stations near you that stock low-sulfur gas, which dramatically reduces particulate pollution. It’s a simple way to protect our air and our health.”

To identify stations near your home and work, visit https://tier3gas.org.

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Salt Lake County Names Helen Peters as New Regional Planning & Transportation Director


October 04, 2021

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Helen Peters, Salt Lake County's Regional Transportation Program Manager, was recently appointed Regional Planning & Transportation Director.

Helen has worked with Salt Lake County for more than four years on managing the County's transportation portfolio and collaborating with regional partners and governmental entities to provide expertise on transportation, land use, and funding. She’s highly regarded for her deep knowledge and technical skills in these areas that are critical to maintaining residents’ quality of life.

“I see all my work in transportation as a way of serving the question of, 'How do you give people from all backgrounds equitable access to opportunity?'” Helen Peters said.

In her new role, she will focus on how Salt Lake County can prioritize sustainable regional growth and continue to coordinate with partners and agencies to lead Salt Lake County’s efforts to implement the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision; coordinate countywide input and implementation of the Wasatch Front Regional Transportation Plan; and manage the Planning and Transportation Advisory Committee; as well as collaborate with Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG), Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), and Utah Transportation Authority (UTA).

"She brings an appreciation for the distinct differences between local and regional planning and transportation, as well as a recognition that collaboration with municipal partners is critical to a strong region," Dina Blaes, Director of the Office of Regional Development, said.

Regional Planning & Transportation is currently actively involved in the Millcreek Canyon Federal Land Access Program grant; crafting the West General Plan; and facilitating regional solutions discussions about housing and planning, among other responsibilities.

“Our collaboration with public officials and regional partners helps us to create a vibrant Salt Lake County,” Helen said. “There are always challenges to rapid growth, but the Regional Planning & Transportation platform allows us to serve residents by contributing to communities of opportunities.”

Prior to working at the County, Helen was a transportation and policy planner at J-U-B Engineers and Parametrix. Outside all things transportation and planning, Helen enjoys live theatre and chocolate.

Contact

Phone: 385-468-4860

Email: hpeters@slco.org


Wondering What the Air Quality is Like Today? Look to These 3 Sources for Forecasts and Real-Time Pollutant Readings in Salt Lake County


September 22, 2021

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When bad air days settle in the Salt Lake Valley, we often get asked: Where's the best place to look for the air quality forecast or current pollution conditions? 

Salt Lake County is sharing three key sources residents can use at any time to better plan activities and travels to better protect your family's health and minimize pollution.

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1. Utah Division of Air Quality

Utah Division of Air Quality's (DAQ) monitors represent the gold standard of monitor quality; they must meet federal requirements, so the monitors are the most accurate for studying nearby air. The data is then analyzed by a team of experts at DAQ who test to make sure the data is accurate. it is the official source for air quality data in the State of Utah.

Limits: There are only 12 monitors which cover all of the Wasatch Front. This limits the amount of detailed information available for residents since air quality can differ based on location. The quality of data is the best but doesn't provide enough detail at smaller geographic scales.

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2. University of Utah MesoWest Air Quality Dashboard

The University of Utah operates and manages a network of research-grade stationary sensors across Salt Lake County and the State. TRAX's monitors are among some of the first mobile air monitors in the world using research-grade sensors. This system allows for real-time monitoring spread out over a larger area by accurate measurements of pollution along the TRAX route. The KSL News Chopper is the first and longest running aircraft platform with research-grade sensors.

The data is analyzed by a team of experts at the Atmospheric Sciences department from the University of Utah. The MesoWest website also incorporates other air monitor data sets, including Purple Air and DAQ data.

Soon, electric buses will also be a part of the monitoring network as the program expands to new UTA bus routes, allowing more specific readings across the County. This will provide residents more specific, neighborhood-level air quality readings.

Limits: Some of the data is tied to areas only where TRAX, electric bus routes, or other modes of transportation are able to travel.

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3. Purple Air

Purple Air designs relatively affordable sensors to be purchased by the public. Sensors are now located all around Salt Lake County and the world, and the data is visible to everyone. This allows all residents to see air quality readings in a specific area on an online map.

Limits: Because the monitors are more affordable, they are less accurate and only record PM2.5 data.

Questions? Ask Salt Lake County's Sustainability Director Michael Shea. Email: Mshea@slco.org.