The Utah Department of Environmental Quality released its 2013 annual report today. The report highlights some of the DEQ’s main accomplishments and success stories from the past year. DEQ Communication Director Donna Spangler says one of the most important was finalizing the state’s air quality plan.
“That was a culmination of 7 years in process," she says. "It involved hundreds of stakeholders and helped us achieve and pass 23 new rules that actually are placed on small businesses and such that will help us improve the air quality.”
But not everyone is as pleased with the work on the state air plan. Matt Pacenza from the environmental group HEAL Utah says he wishes it included deeper cuts to industrial pollution standards and shorter timelines to get there.
“This is a pretty good plan, but we have a air quality crisis which needs better than a pretty good plan," he says. "It needs a great plan. And one of the reasons we don’t think it was a great plan is because they are allowing industrial air pollution to increase so significantly.”
Other successes the report points out include the department’s oversight of the closure of the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the creation of an air quality smartphone app, and efforts to monitor winter ozone in the Uintah basin.