As Utah’s population increases and spurs development, area sources stand to become Utah’s largest pollution source. Area sources include homes, businesses, development projects, off-road vehicles (like construction equipment), and agriculture.
The main tool to reduce area source emissions is establishing technical regulations that Utah’s public agencies can enforce. This starts with the establishment of cleaner standards that specific sources must meet and hold area source emitters accountable. However, individual action — from pressure on large area source emitters like developers to changes made in your own home appliances — can still reduce emissions. By educating the public on the problem and providing tangible solutions, we work to change individual behavior.
STATE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
For the last decade, Utah’s urban areas have been out of attainment with federal air quality standards for PM2.5. This has launched the state into a lengthy compliance process with the EPA that requires the development of State Implementation Plans (SIP) for Salt Lake and Provo. Both of these SIPs have been approved by the Utah Division of Air Quality and are waiting approval by the federal EPA. The EPA’s decision about the SIP will determine how certain regions in Utah will reduce emissions in the coming years, including what’s required of public, businesses, and industry.
HEAL is an active participant during the public review process of these SIPs and encourage our supporters to do the same. The next step in this process will be a federal comment period, where we will advocate for stronger controls on wood burning, off-road vehicles (like construction equipment), on-road vehicles (our cars and trucks), and fugitive dust (e.g. from sand and gravel quarries), and for stronger review on industry compliance.
There are other regions within Utah that are out of compliance with federal air quality standards for PM2.5 and/or ozone (e.g. Cache County and the Uintah Basin). We continually monitor the efforts of these regions to get back in attainment and are always at the ready to work with regulators on this process.
The proposed inland port is one of the more complex and controversial conversations happening in Utah right now. HEAL has been watchdogging the port’s environmental development and determining whether the port, if it is built, can be sustainable and have the least impact on our environment. While we have developed possible strategies to minimize the port’s effect on air quality, we are also looking at what it means for energy and waste. Our current approach is one of “cautious collaboration” to try and implement sustainability measures – an approach which may change if sustainability best practices are not upheld. We have penned, along with some of our partners, a white paper addressing the environmental problems presented by the port, best solutions.t. If it appears that those involved in the port planning process are not taking these issues and recommendations seriously we will reevaluate our position. Read get more information on this project here.