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Monday morning, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the EPA’s request for a motion to stay Utah’s Regional Haze Ruling. The ruling postpones the installation of vital pollution control technologies on two of Utah’s coal plants indefinitely.
In June of 2016, the EPA ordered Rocky Mountain Power to install pollution control technology on two of Utah’s coal fired power plants, Hunter and Huntington. The technology would have helped improve the air and visibility of the surrounding National Parks near the plants. Unfortunately, the State of Utah and Rocky Mountain Power appealed the ruling and asked for a stay. At that time, the motion was opposed by HEAL and other advocacy groups, as well as the EPA, who argued that the installation should begin immediately.
Then last spring, the EPA reversed its decision and asked for a stay of its own ruling. Today the court agreed.
“We of course are very disappointed” says Michael Shea, HEAL Utah’s Senior Policy Associate. “The EPA is going against its own scientific research – research which shows these plants are negatively affecting the air quality of Utah’s National Parks.”
The ruling will give the EPA the ability to consider alternative options to its original ruling. The most troubling is the State of Utah’s preferred plan which called for no meaningful changes to the plant’s current operations.
“What we are seeing here is the effect of the Trump Administration’s hostility toward important environmental regulations. The Regional Haze Rule has been vital in helping clean up the air in National Parks throughout the west. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent and could lead to the rollback of other regulations affecting coal plants,” says Shea.
HEAL and its allies are currently evaluating their legal options and plan to continue to push for the installation of pollution control technologies for Hunter and Huntington.
Senior Policy Associate HEAL Utah