New partnership for Utah Inland Port Authority sparks old debate

SALT LAKE CITY – A new announcement from the Utah Inner Port Authority has rekindled debate over the potential impact on the environment.

With posters in hand and chants ready, Deeda Seed has once again assembled a group of environmentalists to make their voices heard against the UIPA.

“We’ve been working on this issue for three years,” Seed said.

Seed helped organize the Stop the Polluting Port Coalition in hopes of raising environmental awareness for a plan that could help boost Utah’s economic trade.

“The truth is, there is nothing green about turning thousands of acres of undeveloped land into a sea of ​​massive, polluting industrial warehouses,” Seed said.

One of the main issues Seed said they have with the UIPA is transparency about where the money is spent and how the UIPA plans to mitigate environmental impacts.

Bryce Bird, director of air quality for the Department of Environment Quality, said they had a 15-year “maintenance plan” projection for air quality in Utah.

“We looked at current emissions, we looked at the reductions provided by current regulations, including federal standards for tier three fleets and fuels and growing populations,” Bird said.

Until 2035, Bird said models showed Utah was maintaining its current air quality standards, even as emissions declined.

A hopeful possibility, Bird said, given the federal emissions standards in place for counties and businesses.

“We’re not done yet,” Bird said. “To steal a phrase from Envision Utah, how we grow matters.”

Jack Hedge, the executive director of IUAP, said their goal is to simultaneously enable economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Part of their plan, Hedge said, is to move operations from a diesel base to an electric base to help reduce emissions.

Another way Hedge mentioned that they are looking to be eco-friendly is to shift freight from truck delivery to trains.

Currently, 90% of the cargo entering Utah today, Hedge said, comes by truck.

“As our population continues to grow, we will be consuming more commodities,” Hedge said. “The more efficiently we can bring this cargo to this market, the more benefits it can have on air quality, our traffic, our quality of life and our community in and around the port area.”

On Tuesday, the UIPA signed an agreement with the Port of Long Beach to improve the flow of international cargo from California to Hive State with the two entities’ pledge to reduce air pollution and improve efficiency. energetic.

“Our goal is to make things better than they are today,” Hedge said.

A quarterly meeting will be organized next week by the UIPA to approve its budget for the year.

During the meeting, Hedge said they hoped to address building a new transshipment or transshipment facility, which could allow the transfer of more cargo in fewer vehicles.

“Three boxes go in two trucks, so by just transhipping them here, we’re reducing the number of truck trips in and out of the intermodal rail facility by a third,” Hedge said.

The new facility would include two new parking lots, to allow truck drivers to plug in overnight, preventing drivers from parking along roads and neighborhoods in the region.

Measurable Benefits Hedging hopes can eliminate emissions.

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