Having just ended its fifth year, Utah's monthlong Clear the Air Challenge has been an enormous success in protecting the health of everyone who lives and works in the Salt Lake area. Through telecommuting, ride-sharing or otherwise taking fewer car trips to work, participants in this year's regional Clear the Air Challenge eliminated 170,000 vehicle trips and kept 1.6 millions pounds of emissions from our region's air.
Just as important is how the Clear the Air Challenge has helped make the Salt Lake regional economy stronger and more competitive. That's the clean energy message I delivered on Capitol Hill at the beginning of the month as part of a delegation of dozens of local chambers of commerce and leading business executives. We met with federal lawmakers in a series of robust conversations about how local chambers can help their member businesses cut energy use to increase their competitiveness.
We told lawmakers that quality of life along the Wasatch Front is of growing importance for area businesses and those considering moving to our region. Though Utah's majestic mountain ranges are a draw for tourists and businesses, they also create some air quality challenges.