Regional Haze

One of the key avenues for pushing to clean up our state’s coal power fleet is via a little-known but critical piece of the Clean Air Act called the “Regional Haze ” rule. Allow us to explain!

The Issue

Beginning in 1990, when then-President George H.W. Bush signed the Clean Air Act amendments, the Enviornmental Protection Agency began to rein in the tiny but dangerous airborne pollution particles from man made sources. Coming from motor vehicles, electric utilities and industrial burning and manufacturing operations, this haze-inducing pollution is both the cause of reduced visibility in our national parks and also the instigator of serious health problems such as respiratory illness, decreased lung function and even premature death.

The EPA’s “Regional Haze” rule is designed to significantly reduce this pollution.

Not only will the EPA’s rule clean up the views around the West, including our beloved national parks, and benefit our health by limiting particulate pollution, but the rules are supported by a majority of Utahns.

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Resistance To Change

While cleaning up our air and improving our health is overwhelmingly supported by Utahns, the new rule is being fought tooth and nail by Rocky Mountain Power. The utility owns some of the dirtiest coal power plants in the nation but is actively resisting the EPA’s efforts via the Clean Air Act to clean those up.

Rocky Mountain Power has fought to block the EPA from making them install cutting-edge pollution controls — called “selective catalytic reduction.” SCR controls are proven to work and are already in place at more than 200 coal plants throughout the country.

If SCR becomes widely used throughout the West, it promises to go a long way toward cleaning up our scenic views and, most important, removing the pollutants sickening our families and contributing to the rising cost of health care.

The Regional Haze rule requires states to come up with their own plans to protect these views. The EPA has approved most states’ proposals to significantly limit the landscape-shrouding pollution coming from nearby coal plants. For Utah, unfortunately, this is not the case.

Looking Forward

Utah’s proposed Regional Haze rules were rejected by the EPA for not doing enough to cut the smog that, on some of the worst days, obscures the views in our local national parks by 40 to 80 miles.

As we head into 2015, big decisions are looming as to whether Utah will order Rocky Mountain Power’s plants to clean up. What will the EPA do? Stay tuned!

Resources

EPA’s Final Action on Utah’s Regional Haze SIP (PDF)

 


 

Recent Posts about Regional Haze…

Coal Plant Regulation Under Attack!

Don't Forget to also 

Urge Gov. Herbert to VETO HB65

Call 801-538-100 and ask Gov Herbert to veto this bad air quality bill!

Read more here! 


On days like this, the old adage "some things are too good to be true" seems too fitting. Last June, HEAL and our allies had a big win in our fight to clean up Utah's two coal fired power plants, Hunter and Huntington. Help keep that victory alive! 

With your help, HEAL directed thousands of comments and packed hearing after hearing with people all asking the EPA the same thing - To force Rocky Mountain Power to install important pollution controls on their dirty coal plants. 

And it worked! The EPA sided with our arguments. Your letters and comments helped win the day. Hunter and Huntington were finally going to have to install controls that almost every other coal plant in the west already has.  

It was a great day and we shared it with you in a celebratory email soon after. (We don't get to do too many of those!) Things were looking pretty great until the November election and we feared it was only a matter of time before there was an attempt to overturn the rule. 

Well those fears have unfortunately been realized. On Tuesday, Utah's own "i-phones and health care" Representative Jason Chaffetz and Senator Mike Lee introduced legislation which would overturn the EPA's ruling. Representative Chaffetz tried to do it quietly hoping no one would notice. Luckily nothing gets past your local clean air and energy advocated and HEAL quickly alerted the media as to what was happening. You can read more about it in this Deseret News Article byclicking here

Now to that point, we need your help! Let the Representative and Senator know that you support cleaning up these power plants and to stop this legislation. Click here to take action now! There you can learn more about the EPA's ruling and the legislation being run to overturn it. Then you can send a lette to Utah's congressional delegation.

There are some dirty polluted clouds on the horizon but with your help we can beat them back! 

Your EPA Champion, 
Michael O'Reagan Shea

Read more...

NEWS: Environmental groups blast Lee, Chaffetz over effort to repeal regional haze regulations

Fox 13
By Elizabeth Suggs
Posted MARCH 14, 2017

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Mike Lee announced on Monday they will fight to overrule federal regulations targeting two Utah power plants aimed at cleaning up air quality in Utah national parks.

“The great state of Utah already has proposed a perfectly safe and effective nitrogen oxide regulation regime,” Sen. Lee said in a statement. “The EPA’s costly new regulations would add hundreds of millions to the power bills of working families and all for an imperceptible change in visibility.”

According to a joint press release from the Sierra Club and HEAL Utah, this move is exactly opposite of what many in Utah want. The release said over 45,000 people, including 100 business owners, in Utah, wrote to the EPA about their concerns for national parks and are in support to protect Utah’s air.

“Just as Jason Chaffetz is woefully distant from low-income Utahns who struggle to afford healthcare, he is also out of touch with our families’ desire for clean air and pristine national parks,” Matt Pacenza, HEAL Utah’s executive director, said in the press release. “After years of careful analysis, the EPA rightfully concluded that limiting pollution from coal-burning is a necessary step toward protecting our families’ health and our scenic vistas. It’s appalling to see how quickly Utah’s Congressional delegation will undo years of scientific study to protect a monopoly utility’s profits.”

... To read the full article, please click here...

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NEWS: Chaffetz, Lee take aim at haze ruling that would reduce pollution at two Utah coal power plants

Salt Lake Tribune
By: Emma Penrod
March 14, 2017

 

n the latest turn of the decade-long dispute over Utah's Regional Haze Rule, Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Mike Lee introduced federal legislation to overturn a 2016 decision to require additional pollution controls at two Utah power plants.

In a Monday announcement of the proposal, Chaffetz said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority when it partially rejected a plan drafted by Utah regulators and decided instead to require emissions-reduction steps at Rocky Mountain Power's Hunter and Huntington coal-fired power plants. He said rejecting the EPA decision would enable Utah to implement its original plan.

The Regional Haze Rule, part of the federal Clean Air Act, mandates the restoration of "natural" air conditions in national parks and wilderness areas by the year 2064. Under that rule, each state is required to develop a plan for reducing emissions from sources near these areas, with EPA determining whether the state plans are acceptable.

Attempts to reach Chaffetz for further comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

In 2016, according to Chaffetz's statement, the "EPA rejected Utah's plan using criteria not granted in the statute" and "instead used the rule to impose a problematic federal plan that imposes an estimated $700 million price tag, but achieves no visible improvement."

These actions, the Republican said, are "typical of Obama-era federal overreach and must be repealed."

Environmental advocates said the proposal is the latest in a string of attempts by U.S. Congressional leaders to undo rules passed under the Obama administration. The Regional Haze Rule, they say, dates back to the 1970s.

... To read the full article, please click here...

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