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…
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.
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Matt chats with Ashley about her work with Breathe Utah, a local clean air nonprofit that focuses on education and policy. Ashley describes Project Skyline, a project she's been working on for several years to boost energy efficiency in buildings, to help reduce the emissions which foul our air. They then chat about the current legislative session and Ashley's work (with HEAL) to defeat or at least improve HB65, a bill that forbids state officials from regulating the burning of wood in food preparation. Lastly, Ashley described their successful recent fundraiser, Running Up For Air. To find more about Ashley and her work, visit Breathe's website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds!
By: Max Roth
February 9, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah has been successful at reducing the number of red air days during the winter season when high pressure forces air to stagnate in valleys along the Wasatch Front and in the Cache Valley.
But red air days still come, forcing sensitive groups indoors and, at times, into emergency rooms.
The key questions: what has led to the reduction in red air days, and what will work in the future?
Follow the trend lines and the answer is pretty clear, according to Matt Pacenza, the Executive Director of the Health Environment Alliance, or HEAL, Utah.
"More than anything else what we have to thank is federal regulation," Pacenza said.
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