Some of the most important venues for trying to improve Utah’s air are little-known regulatory bodies like the Division of Air Quality and the Air Quality Board. Both play a critical role in doing everything from monitoring pollution, and planning on how to limit it, to making the rules that businesses and industries have to follow.
Building on our experience and success in lobbying entities that work on nuclear waste, HEAL began in 2012 to focus on these clean air bodies as a piece of trying to limit Wasatch Front air pollution.
HEAL’s Clean Air Regulatory Success Stories:
- We brought a package of rules to the Air Quality Board to close loopholes that allow excess industrial pollution. These complex but critical measures have the potential to make a real difference in improving the air we breathe. Although the rules were ultimately not put out for public comment, they are being utilized by the Division of Air Quality in the development of the next State Implementation Plan targeting PM2.5 pollution.
- We built support for proposed federal regulations limiting pollution from cars and trucks – called Tier 3 standards – which may ultimately reduce pollution from the biggest source of Wasatch Front dirty air by half. Not only did we get more than 1,100 Utahns to tell the EPA they backed tougher standards on car and truck emissions, but so did Republican state legislators and Gov. Gary Herbert himself! You read that right: One of America’s most conservative, pro-business, anti-regulation Governors wrote a letter to the EPA asking for tough environmental regulations.
- We successfully encouraged thousands of Utahns to urge the Division of Air Quality to improve their plan to cut PM2.5 pollution. More than 2,600 comments were sent to regulators, urging deeper emissions cuts, particularly to industrial pollution. In addition, HEAL staff prepared detailed comments urging a host of specific pollution controls, including safeguards specific to polluting refineries developed by an expert we contracted.
Our work strives to push Utah’s air quality regulators to do more. We will continue to provide detailed comments on upcoming permit applications and proposed Division of Air Quality rules — like those governing fugitive dust. We will also work to protect important rules already passed by the Air Quality Board — like this architectural coatings rule that helps reduce emissions from the building sector — from special interest groups who seek to undermine our regulations to increase their profit margins.
Recent Posts about Clean Air Regulation…
Salt Lake Tribune
Jan 7, 2018
Utah’s recent history with air quality comes down to this: We’re headed in the right direction, but the road is getting steeper.
So it is with news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially notified Utah officials that areas in seven counties are exceeding safe ozone levels and the counties will be declared non-attainment areas. That means Utah will have to come up with new ways to reduce ozone.
And if that’s not enough, Tribune reporter Emma Penrod tells us that scientists who are charged with reducing Utah’s other main air pollutant — particulates — are now saying Utah’s plans for lowering the amount of small particulates (PM2.5) likely won’t be enough to satisfy EPA.
Read the entire piece here.
SUNDAY , JANUARY 07, 2018 - 5:15 AM
The Wasatch Front ended 2017 in the thick of another inversion. Meanwhile, Utah Sen. Todd Weiler found himself in a Twitter storm about air quality.
The Republican lawmaker took to the platform to remind Utahns that inversion pollution has improved over time. He noted that when the gunky smog builds, cars and homes are mostly to blame — not factories, refineries or copper mines. He went even further, saying it was “intellectually dishonest” to argue Utah’s air quality is getting worse.
Weiler’s tweets generated a backlash, but it turns out, he’s right — at least about the region’s sources of pollution and its improvement over time.
Many of you won’t believe this, but: 1. Utah’s air is getting cleaner every year and has been for the past two decades — even despite a massive increase in population. 2. There is nothing we can do to stop inversions. They even happened before the pioneers showed up. #utpol
3. Most of the pollution you see during inversions is from people driving their cars and heating their homes. 4. Even if we do nothing, Utah’s air will continue to get cleaner every year for the next decade. This is mostly because Tier 3 cars and fuel are becoming available.
“I think with air quality, it’s hard,” Weiler said. “People don’t take the time to do the research and I think a lot of people repeat things that aren’t true and hear them over and over so often that they just believe them.”
Read the full article here.Read more...