NEWS: Air Quality Concerns With Bill Allowing Wood Burning to Cook

Published March 16, 2017
Associated Press/ US News
By BRADY McCOMBS

 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A proposal passed by Utah state legislators that would allow wood burning for cooking on even the worst air quality days should be vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert to ensure the state is doing everything possible to combat the causes of murky winter air, an environmental group said Thursday.

Matt Pacenza, executive director of HEAL Utah, said at a news conference in Salt Lake City that the state has taken some important steps to improve air quality in recent years but population growth means Utah can’t let up. The proposal is written too broadly and would allow for all kinds of wood burning so long as the people claim they’re cooking.

“We need to look under every rock, as they say, to find ways to reduce emissions and solve our air quality problem,” said Pacenza, who was flanked by supporters holding signs that read, “Clean Air Now.”

Herbert’s spokesman Paul Edwards said in a statement that the Republican governor is studying the issue and plans to meet with people on both sides in the coming week. He said the governor recognizes the importance of giving the Air Quality Board the authority to make decisions, but also understands the private sector’s wanting “greater flexibility.”

Hebert has until March 29 to sign or veto the bills the Legislature passed.

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