NEWS: Herbert stokes fire over air quality by signing bill allowing use of wood to cook

Salt Lake Tribune
Published by: Emma Penrod
March 28, 2017

Gov. Gary Herbert has signed into law a controversial proposal to exempt burning wood to cook food from air quality regulations.

While speaking of the bill last Thursday, Gov. Herbert said that if he signed it, there would “be some additional work with the sponsor and others involved, the private sector as well as the Air Quality Board, to get to the right place and make sure our air quality needs are being accommodated by our ability to make decisions.”

Herbert signed HB65 the following day.

The state Air Quality Board had asked the governor veto the bill, which it said would “directly limit the board’s ability to approve future air-quality regulation and enforce existing regulations.”

HB65 requires the state Division of Air Quality — and by extension the Air Quality Board that governs it — to permit Utah residents to burn solid fuels if the primary purpose of doing so is to cook food. The exemption would apply even on “no burn days” when burning wood and solid fuels is prohibited in order to prevent air quality from degrading.

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