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…
Thanks for tuning in this week! We’re now moving away from the Summer season, but that doesn’t mean things are cooling down in HEALLand. In fact, we have some big things going on, including a clean air victory, a community night with our allies at Friends of the Great Salt Lake, and the wrapping up the summer outreach season. But first, let’s break down what exactly happened at the Salt Lake City Council last week.
Big Win for Clean Air and Energy Efficiency - The SLC Benchmarking & Transparency Ordinance PASSED!
For those of you in Salt Lake City, we want to say a big THANK YOU for showing support for the SLC Building Benchmarking and Market Transparency Ordinance! With your help, the Salt Lake City Council voted to adopt this ordinance last Tuesday, August 29, makingSalt Lake one of the national front-runners in establishing energy efficiency measures for big buildings. This ordinance will require large buildings (over 25,000 sq ft) to benchmark, or measure, their energy usage using free software provided by Rocky Mountain Power and Dominion Energy. These tools will provide data to building owners to help them determine whether energy efficiency upgrades make sense for them, potentially saving them money and many kilowatts of wasted energy. Of course, we also like theimportant side-benefit of improved air quality that more efficient buildings provide!
We have been told from many people closely involved in the process that your voice, as citizens of SLC, were instrumental for city council members to hear and helped solidify their vote in favor of this innovative initiative. However, that doesn’t mean that there were no voices in opposition. In fact, there have been threats of taking this vote to the legislature, potentially limiting the power of the city to implement it. We will be following this closely, and will keep you updated on any developments that may hinder progress of energy efficiency in SLC.
In the meantime, thank you to those who took the time to use our action alert and allowed your voice to be heard supporting EE, air quality and the environment! Also, let's all take a minute to thank our City Council Representatives who made energy efficiency a priority, shoot them an email or call!
US Magnesium & Air Quality Community Night on Wednesday, September 13th at 6:30 PM at the Marmalade Library- Presented by HEAL Utah, Friends of the Great Salt Lake, & University of Utah Researchers.
US Magnesium is a facility on the southwest shore of the Great Salt Lake in Tooele County that produces magnesium, alloy magnesium, and chlorine. As with most extractive industries, the facility produces a lot of waste that can be toxic for humans, animals, and ecosystems, with potentially far-reaching impacts. The facility also holds the distinction of being a federal Superfund Site, making it a target for clean up by the Environmental Protection Agency, with support from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
HEAL Utah and Friends of the Great Salt Lake are concerned about the environmental impacts of US Magnesium, particularly how the facility impacts air quality in Northern Utah. We would like you to join us and researchers from the University of Utah to discuss the community-health risk factors, environmental impact, and the evaluation of the clean up process thus far.
Learn more about Friends of the Great Salt Lake's work on US Magnesium and the Community Night on our Facebook Page. Invite your friends, too!
Dozens of you have joined us at Farmers Markets, Arts Festivals and community gatherings this summer and we couldn’t be more grateful. If you haven’t had the chance to volunteer yet, follow this link to our sign up form
or call the office anytime during office hours. Remaining opportunities include
- SLC: The Avenues Street Fair, Saturday September 9th
- SLC: The Hispanic Heritage Parade and Street Festival, Saturday, September 23rd at The Gateway. Both Spanish and English speakers are welcome!
- Moab: Moab Pride Festival, Saturday September 30th, at Swanny City Park
- Logan: The Cache Valley Gardners Market, Saturday October 7th
- Murray: Wheeler Farmers Market, Sunday, October 15th
Last But Not Least.... A Save The Date!
HEAL, alongside Utah Physicans for a Healthy Environment and Sierra Club will be hosting a unique networking and workshop event focusing on climate change, storytelling, and YOU!
Climate Matters - The Power of Personal Narrative
Wednesday, October 11th
Clubhouse - 6:00-9:00 PM
With Sierra Club, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, HEAL
Join us for this Utah Climate Week event as we network and create our personal narrative on why climate matters for each of us, Wednesday, October 11th Clubhouse (850 E S Temple, SLC, UT 84102): 6:00-9:00 PM We will have brief presentation and workshop instruction by Giuliana Serena, one of the curators of The Bee. This will be followed by breakout sessions to share, practice, and refine our narratives. Finally, participants will be invited to record their stories.
As always, follow HEAL to keep up with for all air quality, clean energy, and community health updates!
Power to the People!
Noah E. Miterko | HEAL UtahRead more...
NEWS: Utah business leaders to Governor: Bad air making it hard to attract employees from out-of-state
BY DANICA LAWRENCE
AUGUST 29, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY - Thirty local business leaders are fed up with the Salt Lake Valley's bad air quality and the Utah government allowing the air to become so awful their employees are moving away. They say it’s made hiring employees from outside of Utah challenging because potential employees do not want to breathe the valley air.
Business leaders teamed together to write a letter to Utah governor Gary Herbert to express their concerns and air quality improvement suggestions.
The letter also states the Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the state to submit a "Serious State Implementation Plan" to reduce pollution.
Read the full article here.Read more...
by Dylan Woolf Harris
August 29, 2017
While consulting with local businesses, Leaders for Clean Air representative Erin Strahm hears a similar, dismal refrain from those who have trouble luring new employees to the state. It goes like this: Recruitment becomes exponentially more challenging when companies are forced to sell Utah as a great place to reside—despite the polluted air that on the worst days hangs in full view like an ashen cloth across the Wasatch Mountains.
“People don’t want to move here because of the air quality issue,” she said. “It’s a major factor in quality of life, and it’s a major factor when people are looking at jobs, when you’re trying to attract that young talent, attract people to your business.”
Leaders for Clean Air is a nonprofit that provides electric vehicle charging stations and support companies in the implementation of clean air practices.
Read the full article here.Read more...