Priority Issues

Utah Asks for 179B Exemption from Clean Air Act

In 2018, EPA designated the Northern Wasatch Front (NWF) airshed (which includes Salt Lake, Davis, and parts of Weber and Tooele Counties) and the Uinta Basin “nonattainment,” i.e. in violation of EPA’s national standard for ozone (which is currently 70 ppb, based on a three-year average of the annual 4th highest daily eight-hour average concentration). Consequently, the EPA would normally require a state to develop a plan to reduce ozone enough to achieve “attainment.” 

Utah is making what appears to be the first ever attempt by a state to invoke this section of the CCA, 179B, by asking the EPA to accept evidence that a significant portion of our ozone, and/or ozone precursors, originates outside our borders, especially in Asia. If the EPA buys Utah’s sales pitch, it will open the door for higher levels of ozone on the Wasatch Front from any and all sources, including the inland port. Read more – July 2021

UDAQ Not Fulfilling Its Mandate To Protect Public Health

UPHE has learned that the Utah Division of Air Quality (UDAQ) posted a proposed rule change that invokes section 179B(b) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) on May 5, with a deadline for comments of May 25 on a “Demonstration” document regarding Northern Wasatch Front (NWF) Ozone Nonattainment. UPHE has numerous problems with the process and the intent behind seeking to avoid the emission reduction obligations required by a moderate Nonattainment Areas (NAA) designation for ozone. 

…regarding the process, the Demonstration document is 145 pages long with detailed atmospheric modeling and complex meteorological data.  There is no realistic opportunity for the public to analyze and critique a document like this in a matter of 20 days, and it is a cynical gesture that UDAQ would even present it to the public with that time frame. Challenging or recalculating the data would require hiring experts to review the information in a completely unrealistic time frame, and at a cost that no non-profit, non-governmental, or non-corporate entity could afford.  [Read more]

Inland Port

​In 2018, the state of Utah took control of tax revenue and land use decisions for more than 25% of Salt Lake City to facilitate the construction of an ‘inland port’ – a giant freight transfer and warehousing facility proposed for the city’s northwest side. The proposed port would further harm our air quality, increase greenhouse gas emissions, create noise and light pollution, and harm critical wildlife habitat. [Read More]

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. Lead poisoning is a serious health issue for many young children and their families. Lead has been shown to be particularly harmful to children younger than six years with lead causing damage to the brain and developmental delay. Currently, only 3% of children in Utah are being tested for lead exposure and thousands of Utah families are living in households that could have lead hazards such as lead based paint. [Read more]

Wood Burning

Studies show that depending on the type of wood stove or fireplace, a home using wood for heat emits 3,000 times more pollution than a natural gas furnace, as much as using between 90 and 400 cars all winter. We require emissions testing of all those cars, but not wood burning appliances. Why? The EPA estimates that the lifetime cancer risk from wood stove smoke is 12 times greater than that from an equal volume of secondhand tobacco smoke. [Read More]

UPHE Sues Diesel Brothers

Diesel Brothers charged with vehicle tampering that increases harmful air pollution along Utah’s Wasatch Front. UPHE sued a conglomerate of Utah companies and individuals for deliberately and systematically destroying pollution control equipment on diesel trucks in violation of the Clean Air Act. Known on social media as the “Diesel Brothers,” the group’s sprawling complex in Woods Cross is famous for building “bad ass” trucks that belch black clouds of smoke – called “rolling coal” – in downtown Salt Lake City and other urban areas. [Read more]

Geneva Rock Point of the Mountain

Geneva Rock has come to the Draper City Council with numerous attempts to get approval to expand their gravel mine at the Point of the Mountain.  If approved, this would expose Draper and much of Salt Lake and Utah Counties to a significant source of dust pollution for the next several decades. We summarize our case against the expansion in a letter we sent to the Draper City Council. [Read more]

PurpleAir’s Citizen Air Monitors

UPHE is working with one of our stellar volunteers, Adrian Dybwad from Draper, Utah, to establish a network of high-quality, citizen-based particulate air pollution monitors up and down the Wasatch Front. These high-tech, laser monitors can detect standard PM10 and PM2.5, and also particles down as small as 0.3 µg. Even better? These monitors deliver real time data online. Go to www.purpleair.org to see for yourself! It shows the location of the monitors in place so far and what kind of data readings are being gathered. [Read more]

Enefit Utility Corridor

On June 14, 2016, this conservation alliance submitted formal comments to the Bureau of Land Management’s Vernal Field Office Tuesday urging the Obama administration to deny rights-of- way across federal public lands that would allow an Estonian energy giant to sidestep environmental review and pave the way for the first commercial oil shale project in the United States. [Read more]

New Proposed Air Quality Rules

On October 7, 2015, UPHE and our colleagues at HEAL Utah and Western Resource Advocates proposed  to the Utah Air Quality Board four new rules which apply to Utah’s largest industries and are aimed to improve Utah’s air quality and public health. [Read More]

Official Comments for Government Agencies

UPHE strongly objects to the Trump EPA’s proposed abandonment of the Obama plan for new improved fuel efficiency standards for vehicles.  You cam find our comments here, posted Oct. 2017. [Read more]


Other Issues

Climate Change

Utah must respond in earnest to the developing climate crisis.  After consulting with energy experts, UPHE has made several recommendations. [Read More]

UPHE Response to UDOH’s Updated Stericycle Report

We know the devastating consequences of human exposure to potent industrial toxins like heavy metals–mercury, lead, cadmium and radioactive isotopes–dioxins and furans, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Every year for more than 25 years, the Stericycle incinerator has been releasing from a relatively short stack, tons of these compounds, some of the most toxic compounds known to man, right into the heart of the most heavily populated part of the state. [Read more]

Preserving Wasatch Mountains

UPHE worked to fight ski resort expansion and development in our watershed. By protecting our watershed from development, we are protecting our water quality. [Read More]

Refinery Expansion

Both the Holly and Tesoro refineries are looking to expand their production capacity. According to Utah DAQ’s official documents, the refineries as a group are the second largest industrial source of pollution after Rio Tinto/Kennecott (RTK) in Salt Lake and Davis Counties and present serious safety risks. Toxic pollution from oil refineries doesn’t stay outside. It seeps into nearby homes, and builds up. [Read More]

Rio Tinto – Kennecott

Rio Tinto-Kennecott again makes Salt Lake County the second most toxic county in the nation as toxic releases have increased once more. [Read More]

State Board of Education’s Curriculum on the Climate Crisis

The truth about the climate crisis should be taught to our children, in the public school system.  But an organized and determined team of extreme right wing, climate denier parents decrying, “Education Without Representation” (EWR), have bullied their way into the decision making process, intimidating the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) into watering down education on climate change. [Read more]

Stericycle

Stericycle is a medical waste incinerator located in North Salt Lake. Incineration actually spreads disease, does not remove toxins while creating new toxins while merely concentrating and redistributing existing ones.  Emissions from incinerators are probably the most toxic type of air pollution,  including the deadliest compounds known to science–including dioxins, furans, heavy metals, radioactive elements and even prions (the highly infective proteins that cause the 100% fatal human “Mad Cow”disease). [Read More]