CACHE COUNTY – The mayors of five Cache Valley communities have joined Gov. Gary Herbert in celebrating the 13th anniversary of Utah’s pioneering of the Idle Free environmental campaign.
That statewide initiative urges all drivers to take personal responsibility for limiting particulate matter and other pollutants emitted by idling motor vehicle engines by simply by turning off their ignitions.
Local mayors signing on to Herbert’s annual Idle Free Declaration are Stephanie Miller of Hyrum, Holly Daines of Logan, Damon Cann of North Logan, John Drew of Providence and Jeffery Barnes of Smithfield.
They joined 66 other municipal leaders from throughout the state in supporting the governor’s environmental initiative.
The Idle Free campaign has come a long way from 2007 when it started as a largely symbolic gesture by former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.
Since then, 10 Utah cities have passed legal ordinances banning idling car engines. Those municipalities are Alta, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Holladay, Logan, Murray, Park City, Salt Lake City, Sandy and Springdale.
Statewide environmental advocacy groups have now joined a grassroots Idle Free Education program envisioned by Utah Clean Cities to benefit more than 15,000 Utah children in 450 schools. Those groups include the Utah Legislature, the Bi-partisan Legislative Clear Air Caucus, the Utah Clean Air Partnership, Breathe Utah, the Utah Society for Environmental Education and the Utah Asthma/Recess Guidance programs in the State Department of Health.
The Utah State Board of Education and all school districts have implemented school bus idling reduction plans and educational programs to inform young and old about the benefits of reduced idling.
Moreover, four of the state’s most prominent school districts are now fully committed to 100 percent idle-free campuses with special emphasis on drop-off and pick-up zones where children are most vulnerable to pollution. Those are Salt Lake City, Park City, Granite and Canyons school districts.
Finally, the limitation of pollution from idling vehicle engines is now listed as one of the key goals of the Utah Energy Action Plan.