Environment & Public Lands
2:39 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Governor Announces Clean Air Team

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Governor Gary Herbert has created a committee with dozens of high-profile people from around the state to look at solutions to Utah’s air quality problems, while critics were blasting a state plan meant to meet stricter federal pollution standards. 

Governor Gary Herbert says everything’s on the table as his new Clean Air Action Team begins its work.  It’s led by Dan Lofgren of Envision Utah and includes 39 members, ranging from the chairman of Intermountain Health Care to Dan McArthur, the mayor of St. George.

The governor says Utah’s urban air pollution has been reduced dramatically over several decades, but he says businesses worry if regulations become too burdensome.  Still, he says the environment is important if Utah wants to welcome new business.

Herbert told a news conference at the state capitol,"I want employers looking at this area and saying, ‘This is a great place to do business, and know that it’s a safe place for their employees to set up shop and to come here and expand their opportunities economically.”

The Utah Air Quality Board held a hearing this morning to take public comment on the new state implementation plan for fine particulate pollution.  Ingrid Griffee with Utah Moms for Clean Air was among those who said the state is taking too long to meet new federal standards.

“We see the plan shows us squeaking by attainment by the year 2019," she told the hearing.  "My kids will be nearly grown by then.  My kids don’t come with a pause button, and their lungs need clean air this winter.”

The Division of Air Quality plans to finalize and submit the plan in December, a year after the Environmental Protection Agency’s original deadline.