It’s no exaggeration to state that air pollution has become the dominant environmental issue in northern Utah over the past few years. When the smoggy inversions we all dread settle into northern Utah’s urban valleys, our levels of fine particle pollution (PM 2.5) reach “unhealthy” for everyone, before the weather changes and the toxic funk lifts.
Utah is officially “out of attainment” with federal Clean Air Act guidelines limiting PM2.5 pollution. Those are tiny particles of dust and pollutants which burrow deep into our lungs and even enter our blood and organs, harming the health of our children and families. It’s a problem most noted in mid-winter, when soot builds up in our valleys, as weather stagnates. Increasingly though, our invisible summertime ozone problem is mounting and will also cause our state to fail to meet federal air quality standards in this respect as well.
Emissions from our cars, homes, businesses and industry are all responsible, driving levels of fine particle pollution well above safe levels. We at HEAL believe that there is no one answer to the dirty air that plagues our valleys. We must clean up our cars and trucks and encourage people to ride transit, bicycle and walk more. However, we also need to make our buildings, homes and businesses as efficient and clean as possible, limiting the pollution they emit. And, lastly, we need to make sure that heavy industry does everything it can to reduce pollution, rather than the modest cuts it has put in place recently.
Beginning in 2012, HEAL began working hard to urge state officials to do more to clean the air. Thousands of Utahns have joined us, participating in online actions sending strong messages to policymakers, attending historic rallies on the steps of the Capitol, and packing hearings where key air quality decisions are made.
We’ve pushed for state support of federal gas and car standards, advocated for more funding for monitoring equipment, encouraged the Division of Air Quality to require deeper emissions cuts, particularly to industrial pollution, and also worked hard behind the scenes with state legislators to develop dozens of air quality measures.
To learn more about that work, check out the video we made in 2013! “Smog Attack!”
In just a few years, Clean Air has become one of our core issues. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished – and know that with your support we’ll continue to do everything we can to make our beautiful valleys safe for everyone.
Recent Posts about Clean Air…
Published by Sean Reilly
February 14, 2017
Scott Pruitt hadn't long been Oklahoma's attorney general in 2011 when he sallied into his first public clash with U.S. EPA. The target: a proposed clampdown on power plant pollution clouding views at wilderness areas in three states.
It turned into a testy legal showdown that fizzled three years later when the Supreme Court refused to hear Oklahoma's appeal of a lower-court ruling in EPA's favor. But with Pruitt, a Republican, now poised to lead the agency he has often sued, his views on what's known as the regional haze program remain unchanged, recent statements suggest.
As EPA administrator, he could offer relief to power companies that cumulatively face billions of dollars in cleanups for older coal-fired plants.
"We're very concerned," said Michael Shea, senior policy associate at HEAL Utah, an environmental group backing EPA's plan to require two 1970s-era plants in the state to install new curbs on nitrogen oxides (NOx). The plants' owner, PacifiCorp, pegs the price tag at $700 million; together with Utah state officials, the firm is suing to void the federal plan in favor of a less stringent state alternative. Should Pruitt win confirmation to head EPA, he could pull the agency out of the lawsuit or roll back enforcement of the plan, Shea said.
... to read the full article, please click here...Read more...
Salt Lake Tribune
Published by: Emma Penrod
February 21, 2017
Clean air activists want Gov. Gary Herbert to veto a bill that would prevent the state from regulating wood smoke used to cook food.
Representatives of both HEAL Utah and Breathe Utah are opposed to HB65, which has already passed the House and Senate. The bill would require the state Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to permit wood burning, even during mandatory no-burn days, if the purpose of the fire was to cook.
Opponents argued that the language was too vague and would render the DAQ restrictions on wood burning impossible to enforce, but conceded that allowing wintertime backyard barbecues probably wouldn't have a substantial impact on Utah's air quality.
But an amendment in the Senate broadened the scope of the bill, making it pertain to not just a family cookout but also commercial operations.
That change has drawn ire from the environmental community.
... To read the full article, please click here...
By: Whittney Evans
February 13, 2017
A bill to phase out the state’s tax credit for residential solar panel installations passed the Utah House on Monday.
House Bill 23 would end the state’s $2000 individual income tax credit by 2021. Republican Representative Jeremy Peterson sponsored the bill. He said the tax credit is draining the state budget.
“It is expected that the cost of technology will actually decrease at the same rate of this tax credit,” Peterson said. “So consumers should not see a significant impact on the bottom line in trying to determine whether or not to make that purchase.”
... To read the full article, please click here...Read more...