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…
Elizabeth Joy and Steve Bergstrom
Salt Lake Tribune
First Published May 20 2017 03:00PM
In the Utah Foundation's 2016 Utah Priorities Project survey, Utah voters statewide ranked air quality as the second most important issue in 2016, and voters along the Wasatch Front ranked air quality as the number one most important issue.
This won't be news to anyone. In fact, the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2017 report ranks the Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem area as the seventh worst in the U.S. for shorter-term spikes in particle pollution, a regular occurrence during wintertime temperature inversions. Logan was ranked eighth.
Read more here.Read more...
MAY 16, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Governor Gary Herbert touted improvements to the state's air quality, but acknowledged that more needed to be done.
During a ceremonial bill signing on Tuesday at Ensign Elementary School, the governor highlighted steps the state has taken to reduce pollution. He signed a resolution encouraging people to purchase vehicles with better smog ratings, one that gets Utah a piece of the massive Volkswagen pollution settlement, one dealing with the Air Quality Board, and another that encourages schools to purchase natural gas-powered buses.
To read more, click here.Read more...
The Salt Lake Tribune
May 19 2017 07:00AM
A plan to require new pollution controls at coal-fired power plants in Utah was among the Environmental Protection Agency's greatest accomplishments under the Obama administration, according to one of the agency's former leaders.
Shaun McGrath, former EPA Region 8 administrator, oversaw the agency's operations in Utah, the Dakotas, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming from 2013-2016. As is typical for the agency's regional officials, the political appointee left his position when President Donald Trump assumed office.
Trump has since appointed ex-Oklahoma Attorney General and longtime EPA critic Scott Pruitt to head the agency, but still has not filled McGrath's Region 8 position.
On Thursday, McGrath — now taking a break from his career to enjoy some globe trotting — met with environmental advocates in Salt Lake City to discuss the highlights of his tenure at the EPA, and his concerns about the agency's current direction. He also granted The Salt Lake Tribune an interview.
McGrath praised state environmental regulators and defended some of the controversial decisions to come out of the EPA in recent years — including the regional haze ruling that required new pollution systems at Rocky Mountain Power's Hunter and Huntington power plants in central Utah.
"In the past, relationships between the EPA and the states have been very strained," McGrath said in the wide-ranging interview.
Read the full article here.