Act! Public comment & hearing on Regional Haze
The Regional Haze Rule is a crucial piece of legislation in protecting our public lands and public health from fossil fuel pollution. Utah is a mecca for outdoor recreation. Home to starry skies and scenic drives, we also house two of the dirtiest coal plants in the country.
UPHE alleges in a lawsuit with our partners that these plants, Hunter and Huntington, violate the Regional Haze Rule by creating smog that frequently blankets popular recreation areas and natural spaces. The smog is more than just unsightly, though. It’s down right dangerous. Levels of air pollution far below the EPA’s acceptable standard are shown to have health consequences.
Please help us urge Utah to stop letting dirty coal plants pollute our air and compromise our health. The Utah regional haze plan is inadequate, and the EPA seems to think so too, judging by their letter to the Utah Department of Air Quality. Hunter and Huntington coal plants need to be permanently shut down or install pollution controls immediately.
A public hearing will be held at 10:30 AM on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Please consider participating in person at the Multi-Agency State Office Building (MASOB), located at 195 N. 1950 W. Salt Lake City, UT in the Four Corners room on the 4th floor, or electronically via Google Meet.
Public comments are open until May 31st. Make your voice heard! Comment via email.
Some key takeaways from the EPA’s letter:
- EPA rejects Utah’s method for establishing ‘reasonable progress” since they rely too heavily on “shutdowns, on-the-way controls, utilization, or other factors’ and not control measures for sources. Additionally, “we remind the state that the glidepath is not a “safe harbor” and a Class I areas’ position below the glidepath cannot be a basis for justifying a particular set of controls or decision to not require controls.”
- EPA is concerned that control measures in this planning period will not equate in actual emissions reductions. “We encourage Utah to do all that it can during this planning period to make reasonable progress through quantifiable reductions in emitted pollutants” Particularly, singling out Hunter and Huntington, and critiquing both the rationale of hedging against future emissions levels as a reason to reject N0x controls, and not analyzing additional S02 controls.
- EPA recommends stronger EJ analysis and community outreach. And changes to the SIP structure to make it easier for the public to understand and engage.
- Utah cannot rely on controls from other programs, regional haze is intended to provide “independent and additional protections beyond the NAAQS and PSD”
- Request for greater justification of excluding Lisbon Nat. Gas Processing Plant, Kennecott Copper mine, refinery, smelter, and power plant lab tailings impoundment, and IPP’s gas conversion, and Chevron and Tesoro refineries from four-factor analysis.
- Utah needs to reassess the assumption that Utah sources do not impair visibility at class I areas in other states, i.e. Colorado.
- Recommends updating enforceable closure date for IPP.
The Air Quality Board welcomes comments on all aspects of the proposed SIP, but specifically requests public input on the following topics:
- The need for a cost threshold.
- Whether a mass-based limit or a rate-based limit would be more appropriate.
- Whether the closure date for the Intermountain Generation Station should be from a range of January 1, 2026, to December 31, 2027.
- Whether other controls explored in the draft SIP are both technically feasible and cost appropriate for US Magnesium at an appropriate date.
- Whether dry sorbent injection is considered cost-effective at Sunnyside.