Utah Clear the Air Challenge Starts This Week

Originally published by Fox 13 Salt Lake City on January 29, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Corporations and other organizations are gearing up to ramp down their driving for the month of February, in an annual competition aimed at helping clean up the air along the Wasatch Front.

Utah’s Clear the Air Challenge will last through February this year, with corporate teams taking trains, buses, bikes, and walking to work.

For six of the last seven years, the Fidelity team has taken home top honors.

“We have a lot of pride in that. It comes with a lot of work,” said Fidelity team leader Carly Seely.

Seely says the University of Utah has been their strongest competition over the years.

The Utah Clean Air Partnership organizes the event, in which participants keep an online journal of their actions to combat pollution.

“Everybody’s the problem so everybody needs to be the solution,” said UCAIR Executive Director Thom Carter.

If you would like to participate, just go to: http://cleartheairchallenge.org/

Clear the Air Challenge Encourages Utahns to be Part of Air Quality Solution

Originally published by ABC4Utah on January 29, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Starting February, community leaders are challenging you to help be part of the air quality solution.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, the Salt Lake Chamber and its clear air partners kicked off the 9th annual Clear the Air challenge. The challenge is a month-long competition designed to encourage Utahns to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone.

For the first time, the challenge is held during the month of February. Staff with the Salt Lake Chamber say that’s when the air quality is visibly at its worst.

“There is no greater health threat to our community than poor air quality,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt lake Chamber. “Doing our part to clear the air isn’t just about our quality of life, it’s about the quality of life for our children and grandchildren. It’s also an economic issue. In order to attract and retain the kind of talent we need to further our state’s economy, we have to protect our unparalleled quality of life. This is everyone’s responsibility. The Clear the Air Challenge shows us that small individual changes can, and do, make a difference to Utah’s air quality.”

According to Beattie, transportation emissions are responsible for nearly fifty percent of the pollutants that make up our poor air quality. He acknowledged that other big cities face the same problem, but there’s one addition problem that Utah has.

“We’re in the Great Basin. So it’s a little harder to clean that out with breezes and what they have coming into the ocean or some other place,” said Beattie.

The Salt Lake Chamber reports that since the challenge started in 2009, participants have helped improve Utah’s air quality by:
– Eliminated almost a million trips
– Saved 13.6 million miles
– Reduced 4,700 of emissions
– Saved $6 million

“This is probably the cleanest air we’ve had in a hundred years. The reality is we’re much more aware of the costs of bad air and pollution and what that does to us,” said Beattie.

Other ways to travel include:
– Carpooling
– Using public transit
– Teleworking
– Trip chaining
– Walking
– Biking
– Using electric vehicles

Participants can track their miles during the Clear the Air Challenge from their mobile device or computer using the TravelWise Tracker. You can register for the challenge by visiting http://cleartheairchallenge.org. The TravelWise tracker allows participants to enter in a starting and ending location to receive carpool options, transit routes, biking, and walking routes. It can also give the amount of emissions saved and provide the amount of time it will take to make the trip.

Salt Lake Chamber Visits Utah Capitol to Kick Off Clear the Air Challenge

Originally published by the Deseret News on January 29, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Chamber kicked off its ninth annual Clear the Air Challenge on Monday.

“We’re very excited about the announcement, because … it is taking place in February,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

In the past, the challenge took place during the summer. In February, “our air quality is visibly at its worse,” the chamber said in a news release.

“The challenge is … a monthlong competition that is designed to encourage Utahns, who go to work … and take kids to school every day to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternative(s) (to) driving,” Beattie said.

“We know transportation emissions are very, very critical to the airshed that we have. Over 50 percent of the issues that we have come out of the tailpipe of a car. We really do believe that by reducing the vehicles on the road and the vehicle miles can make a significant difference,” he said.

“There’s no greater health threat to our community than our air quality,” Beattie said.

Cleaning Utah’s air, he said, is an economic issue.

“We want to make sure that people want to live here,” Beattie said. “Small and incremental changes can and do make a difference.”

Scott Williams, executive director of HEAL Utah, said “Salt Lake has had 164 mandatory air action days, or an average about 30 days every year,” over the past five years.

“… Half of our toxic emission in the air comes from our cars. So for those 30 days every year, we each need to have a plan B alternative to driving alone,” Williams said.

“The Clear the Air Challenge is a way to practice our personal plan B and hopefully eventually make it our plan A, and reduce the the output of toxins … that our cars emit by working from home, taking public transportation, carpooling, combining our errands into fewer trips, or using our foot power to walk or take our bike,” he said.

Utah residents can visit cleartheairchallenge.org to register for the challenge. The website tracks the miles saved by all participants.