ALL NEWS

Proposed EPA action on Utah air quality applauded by advocates

Apr 14, 2022, 12:23 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2022, 1:23 pm

bad air quality around the capitol. The EPA is looking to change Utah's designation....

Thick haze shrouds the Capitol and downtown Salt Lake City on the second day of the legislative session, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. Photo credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Environmental Protection Agency is looking at changing Northern Wasatch Front’s air quality attainment status. The agency’s proposed actions were applauded by groups advocating for a healthy environment.

The EPA’s proposed actions

The Northern Wasatch Front is currently considered by the EPA as being in the “marginal” status for non-attainment. The proposed decision would reclassify the area as “moderate” instead.

The EPA said it based its proposed actions on the state’s failure to meet the 2015 national air quality standard for ground-level ozone by the required year– 2021.

Ground-level ozone is caused when pollutants are emitted and react to sunlight. Cars, power plants, and other sources emit those pollutants.

The agency said a review of air quality monitoring data from 2018 to 2020 determined the state’s failure.

The reclassification of an area means the state would have to do more to clean up the air and reduce emissions. The Clean Air Act requires the state to protect public health and to submit new plans to show what it will do to attain air quality standards. 

The EPA said the act works to ensure that smog-affected areas meet health-based air quality standards for ozone as fast as possible. The agency will work to help the state put forth measures to protect clean air.

The agency also proposed the rejection of the state’s 179B(b) International Transport demonstration for the Northern Wasatch Front.

This demonstration sought to avoid the reclassification of the area to a higher non-attainment status. The state claimed it would have attained standards if it weren’t for pollution coming from international sources.

Response from air quality advocates

The Western Resource Advocates group aims to protect air, water, and land across seven states, including Utah, according to its website.

“This draft decision by EPA is the right call and, if finalized, would require the state of Utah to take specific and concrete action to tackle the Northern Wasatch Front’s ozone pollution crisis,” said Joro Walker, WRA’s general counsel based in Salt Lake City. 

WRA urged Utahns to submit a comment about the agency’s proposal online. The EPA’s proposed actions are currently under a 60-day public comment period, which ends June 13.

“This will help address climate change while protecting Utahns, particularly children and residents in disproportionately impacted communities, from the devastating health consequences of ozone pollution,” Walker said.

WRA is not the only group supporting the EPA’s proposed actions. The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment also released a statement.

“Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment strongly support the EPA’s ruling, and we’re confident Utah residents do as well,” said Dr. Brian Moench, president of the group.

“We should not forget that this saga was a betrayal of the public trust by our most powerful politicians that allowed our biggest industrial polluters to hijack the expertise and personnel of a critical state agency,” Moench added.

Other actions

The EPA’s proposal also found the Southern Wasatch Front’s “marginal” non-attainment area as having attained the 2015 standard. 

The agency also proposed granting a one-year extension to the Uinta Basin area’s attainment date. It proposes the date be extended to August 3, 2022.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the EPA proposed to determine the Southern Wasatch Front as a “marginal” non-attainment area.

Related: New report says electric vehicles could prevent deaths, improve health

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The OLRGC released an analysis of the expected topics to be discussed during a special session of t...

Simone Seikaly

Extending state flooding emergency, firearm restrictions, among topics for Utah special session

The OLRGC released an analysis of the expected topics to be discussed during a special session of the legislature.

22 days ago

A video recorded by Facebook user Larry Jacquez shows the police response following the shooting in...

Jamiel Lynch, CNN     

At least 3 people killed and 2 officers wounded in a shooting in Farmington, New Mexico, police say

Multiple people were shot and at least three killed in a shooting in Farmington, New Mexico, police said in a Facebook post.

22 days ago

A new release from Intermountain Healthcare shows that younger adults are becoming more susceptible...

Waverly Golden

Younger adults are becoming more susceptible to strokes

A new release from Intermountain Healthcare shows that younger adults are becoming more susceptible to stroke.

22 days ago

If you plan to camp over Memorial Day Weekend, you may want to begin the planning process now....

Allessandra Harris

Camping over Memorial Day Weekend? Plan ahead

If you plan to camp over Memorial Day Weekend, you may want to begin the planning process now.

22 days ago

slcpd on the scene of the deaths...

Josh Ellis

Police: Teen killed by father in murder-suicide in SLC office building

Police responded to the office complex near 3000 S. Highland Drive on Saturday after emergency responders received a call from a community member who reported finding a body.

22 days ago

Melissa Coleman crouches next to her husband, , Brad Coleman, of North Ogden, who sits in a wheelch...

Jenny Carpenter, KSL.com

Young stroke victim survives with quick, lifesaving treatment in northern Utah

After a 36-year-old man had a stroke, he and his wife say to be aware of the signs of stroke and that young people are also at risk.

22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Proposed EPA action on Utah air quality applauded by advocates