Since being elected to Congress, I have had the opportunity to spend significant time visiting some of the most scenic and remote parts of Utah. During this time and in a sincere effort to better connect with Utahns of all walks of life, I have held more than 75 town halls and tried to capture important, local perspectives. As a result, I have not only gained a greater appreciation for the sheer beauty of Utah, but also for the responsibility that Utahns feel to protect and preserve our state and be good stewards of our environment.
Utah is a truly extraordinary place because Utahns are as special and unique as the majestic landscape that covers our state. Utahns, from both sides of the political spectrum, strongly believe in being good stewards of our lands and the environment. Not only is this my strongly held personal belief, but it is evidenced in our state’s history and the culture of our great people.
Whenever I hear concerns about our environment, I’m reminded of my time as the mayor of Provo and the commitment I made to improve Provo’s air quality. As part of that commitment, I helped create the Provo clean air toolkit to provide strategies for individuals, businesses, organizations and governments to be proactive in reducing emissions and negative impacts on the environment.
Now a member of Congress, I want to expand my commitment to Provo in Washington, D.C. As a part of this promise, I have joined the House Clean Energy and Innovation Working Group. This group of members of Congress is working to promote energy innovation and solutions that provide for a cleaner environment while also creating jobs, growing the economy and protecting our national security and energy independence.
In my promise to be accessible, I’ve hosted meetings to discuss the environment right in some of Utah’s most beautiful landscapes. For example, I recently held a “hiking town hall meeting” that was dedicated exclusively to discussing issues related to the environment. This meeting lasted nearly 10 hours as a diverse group of both younger and older hikers climbed to the top of Mt. Timpanogos with me and talked about our great state.
I also recently met with BYU professors and students up Provo Canyon at Squaw Peak to discuss environmental issues and collaborate on potential solutions. My conversations with these very thoughtful, concerned and passionate constituents remain beneficial as I take Utah values with me as I work and vote in Washington.
While it is important to recognize we still have a lot of work to do, I think it is worth noting that when it comes to air quality, the U.S. has made significant progress over the past few decades to meaningfully reduce harmful air pollutants. According to a recently released annual EPA report, “between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73%, while the economy grew more than three times.” Specifically, sulfur dioxide was reduced by 88 percent, lead was reduced by 80 percent, carbon monoxide was reduced by 77 percent and nitrogen dioxide was reduced by 56 percent, to only name a few. This is not to say our work is done, but we are moving in the right direction.
In Utah, we all believe in being good stewards of our environment and as one of Utah’s members of Congress, I am resolved to setting an example for my colleagues.
I am committed to working with members from both sides of the aisle in Washington and with local partners here in Utah to bring forward bipartisan solutions to further protect our environment while allowing for economic growth and prosperity for Utah—including supporting innovations and technology. I encourage all Utahns to get out and enjoy Utah’s many beautiful places, and to also join me in this effort to make a positive impact on our environment.
I cannot do it without you!