Statewide campaign sets out to 'Clean the Darn Air'
Carbon taxing - or as Clean the Darn Air campaign strategist Casey Hansen put it, “Pollution, not potatoes.”
Clean the Darn Air's proposed ballot initiative would institute a moderate carbon tax to incentivize lower carbon emissions within the state. The money generated from the tax would mainly go towards eliminating state sales tax on groceries.
Hansen said that their campaign has a real shot at getting a carbon tax initiative on the ballot in 2024.
“It's a really front-of-mind issue for a lot of people. You can't ignore it for large portions of the year, whether it's the wildfires in the summer, or whether it's inversion in the winter. It's not a theoretical thing,” Hansen said.
He says that the initiative focuses on creating the most positive outcome for everyone, even including limited carve-outs to allow Utah industries to remain competitive nationally.
Jack Podolsky, who also works as a strategist for the campaign, says they are weighing the carbon tax’s effects on individuals as well.
“We're actively working with some environmental justice groups to make sure that we're crafting a policy that's not going to negatively impact low-income communities,” Podolsky said.
According to Podolsky, their grassroots campaign of volunteers is ready to tackle the challenge ahead.
“We want to clean the darn air and that's really what everybody's focused on doing here and so we're really committed to this mission that we've set out on,” he said.
Their campaign requires signatures from all across the state and while they won’t start collecting signatures until February, they’re already working to expand their network of volunteers in every county to reach rural Utahns.