Amy Joi O’Donoghue
March 6, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Air Quality Board wants Gov. Gary Herbert to veto a legislative measure that would exempt outdoor cooking from restrictions on bad air days, asserting it interferes with enforcement of wood burning at a time when it is looking to cut pollution wherever it can.
“HB65 will make existing rules surrounding solid-fuel burning difficult or impossible to enforce. For example, enforcement of solid-fuel burning during a no-burn period could be circumvented by individuals claiming to be warming a can of beans,” the board said in a letter to Herbert.
The board discussed concerns over the measure in a regularly scheduled meeting last Wednesday and then convened in a teleconference Friday to vote on sending the letter to Herbert. They were in unanimous agreement.
The letter was delivered to Herbert’s office late Friday.
“No one is interested in banning backyard barbeques, but as a state we need flexibility in implementing cost-effective methods to improve our air quality,” said Herbert’s spokesman, Paul Edwards. “We have concerns that the language of this bill may be overbroad in ways that would unwisely tie our hands with regard to potential common-sense solutions.”
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, says the burning of solid fuel for cooking is allowed during local emergencies, power outages or if the primary purpose is cooking, even on bad air days when the state issues restrictions.
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