800 students rally at Utah State Capitol for clean air action

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah State Capitol was packed with some young faces Monday,

800 students from fifth to 12th grade rallied at the capitol for clean air legislation to pass. Students from Rowland Hall and the Madeleine Choir School attended the event. They also invited students from all across the valley. Musician Tom Bennett was there to entertain and sing his song called “Governor we cannot breathe.”

“If everyone wants clean air, just like me, our voices will be too loud to ignore,” said 10-year-old Milo Shaw from Madeleine Choir School. “So let’s make our voices heard.”

Shaw was passionate about the wood burning stove replacement program.

“The program doesn’t really exist anymore because we ran out of money but we need to help to give them money,” explained Shaw. “We need our legislators to fund the program because it really took down pollution a couple of levels.”

His classmate Sam Macklyn, an 11-year-old 6th grader said the bad air quality made him sick so he is rallying for clean air to keep Utahans healthy.

“I had… bad heart disease which is caused from our bad air,” explained Macklyn. “I do think that us being here will make a difference.”

Rep. Becky Edwards watched the kids protest and perform. She said they told her that they have to have time outside because they learn better after they've had recess. When the state issues poor air quality days the students are not allowed to go outside and have recess.

“Right now, we are putting the final touches on our budget and I think this makes an impact on how we look at continuing to fund monitors [for air quality] and additional research that is Utah specific and those efforts by the kids do put a face on the issue,” said Rep. Edwards.

Heal Utah is tracking 16 air quality related bills. If you are interested in following them click here.