Regulars and Shorts

Green Bits: March 2014

By Pax Rasmussen

News and ideas for a healthier, more sustainable future.
by Pax Rasmussen

It’s a start

SLC’s pilot mass-transportation program launched on March 1! The Hive Pass, the annual UTA transit pass exclusively for city residents, lets folk ride UTA buses and trains for just $360 per year ($30 per month). That’s a pretty big deal, as normal monthly UTA passes run about $83. This is just the start to better transit in SLC, though—the pass is only good for Salt Lake City residents. Hopefully soon this will be an option for the rest of the Wasatch Front!

Green news on the (digital) air

Veteran news reporter and radio talk show host Alan Naumann, the producer of Solar Day Salt Lake every year, has a new online “radio” show, Green News Utah. The show focuses on environmental issues with a specialty in renewable energy. Shows are also available as podcasts.

How, and why, to boycott eggs from factory farms

If you still think eggs are bad for you, I’ve got news: It’s all lies, LIES! In fact, eggs are very nearly the perfect food. Yes, they have a lot of cholesterol in them, but eating cholesterol does not, at all, contribute to having high cholesterol in your blood (your body just digests cholesterol just like it does any other fat). Along with lots of good fats, proteins and vitamins, eggs also have a bunch of antioxidants and other good stuff.
But…all eggs are not created equal. A number of studies have shown that factory-farmed eggs contain fewer nutrients and more of the bad fats than eggs from pasture-raised hens. Check the carton before you buy: If it says “Pasture Raised,” that’s the best. “Free Range” is also good, but “Cage Free” can mean just about anything (like…the hens packed into one enormous room, for example). Also, eggs labeled “Organic” usually tend to come from hens in better conditions, with the added bonus of not being full of hormones or antibiotics.

Air quality bills on the Hill

As of the time of this writing (Feb. 25), there are currently four bills in process at the Utah State Legislature that affect our air quality on the Wasatch Front. Each has been amended, and so far, all are still alive and have a chance of passing. Check out the bills below, and make sure to contact your representative and urge his or her support of these bills (except for the last one: SB0139 wants alternative-fuels vehicles to pay a penalty for not using gas, which funds highways with its taxes; while it’s true that these cars use the roads as much as other cars, this tax sets a bad precedent in a year when, due to air quality, the goal is to encourage the use of cleaner vehicles).

HB0038S01, Resource Stewardship Amendments (P. Arent)
Bill would create a new state job to push state agencies to do more to clean the air.

HB0074, Energy Efficient Vehicle Tax Credits (V. Snow)
Bill would boost the tax credit for Electric Vehicles to $2,500.

HB0041, Clean Fuel School Buses and Infrastructure (S. Handy)
Bill would spend $18 million to replace aging polluting school buses with newer, cleaner ones.

SB0139, Transportation Funding Revisions (W. Harper)
Bill would charge owners of compressed natural gas (CNG), electric or hybrid cars an extra $90 to $120 in annual registration fees.

This article was originally published on March 1, 2014.