Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Three dates have been set aside in mid-October for residents along the Wasatch Front to learn more about Utah's proposed solutions to reduce air pollution.
The draft State Implementation Plan, required by the Environmental Protection Agency if an area fails to meet federal clean air standards, has been on the crafting table for three years and will officially make its debut Monday.
After that, the Utah Air Quality Board has until mid-December to make any modifications to the plan, formally approve it and submit it to the federal agency for consideration of acceptance.
Utah is trying to get a handle on its fine particulate pollution, or PM2.5, along the Wasatch Front and northern Utah's Cache Valley, which is often socked in by stubborn wintertime inversions.
A host of regulatory changes are being contemplated as part of the state's efforts to reduce PM2.5, which can cause respiratory problems and particularly aggravate health problems of the vulnerable — the young, the elderly and people suffering from asthma or other lung problems.
The shifts in regulation have the potential to affect businesses, motorists and residents in seven counties: Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah and Weber. Up for consideration are new emission standards for industrial baking ovens, manufacturers of wood furniture and other industries.
"The draft (plan) shows great progress toward meeting the health standard in all of the counties contained in the planning area," said Utah Division of Air Quality Director Bryce Bird. "We've identified many strategies for reducing pollution and will use the comment process to identify additional reductions and refine the plan.
"Most notably," Bird added, "we will start seeing air quality improvements immediately while still fine-tuning the (plan) for EPA approval."
Public comment schedule
• Cache County — Oct. 15 at Bridgerland Applied Technology Center, 1301 N. 600 West, Logan; 10 a.m. for information; 11 a.m. for comment
• Utah County — Oct. 16 at Mountainland Association of Governments, 586 E. 800 North, Orem; 10:00 a.m. for information; 11 a.m. for public comment
• Salt Lake County — Oct. 17 at Utah Department of Environmental Quality, 195 N. 1950 West, Salt Lake City; 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. for public information; 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. for public comment