Committee approves bill to strengthen air pollution rules
Laura Seitz, Deseret News Archives
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah air quality regulators may be able to implement air pollution rules more stringent than the federal government under a measure that received approval by a legislative committee Friday.
HB121, sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, has considerable hurdles to overcome before it becomes a reality, but the measure is a considered a compromise proposal that comes with a string of parameters and conditions.
In the past, conservative lawmakers have balked at the notion of handing over "carte blanche" authority to a state regulatory agency to invoke rules that go beyond what is already perceived as an over-reaching federal government.
But Edwards' bill, which passed the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee, includes requirements that she said will appropriately act as a check against over burdensome regulations.
"I do think this bill is a compromise that everyone is comfortable with," she told committee members.
Edwards said there have been situations where the division has felt it has been boxed in regarding the type of action it can take because of the "no more stringent" law that is on the books in Utah.
Division Director Bryce Bird said federal rules are crafted with East Coast conditions in mind and don't allow flexibility for local conditions — such as the Wasatch Front's persistent temperature inversions that saturate the valleys with unhealthy air.
Local regulators, for example, couldn't invoke "episodic" pollution controls on industry during those inversion periods, but could address those issues under the revision of the law proposed by Edwards.
Any rule that went beyond provisions of the federal Clean Air Act would have to first meet a number of requirements on the local front, Edwards said, including being based on evidence or studies, being subject to public review and meeting a "reasonable" standard deemed necessary to provide additional public health protections.
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: amyjoi16
- President Monson rededicates Ogden Utah Temple
- Little Emmanuel's journey home a tale of...
- The ghosts under our feet: 88...
- Bingham High students walk out over dress code
- Mourning family of Mormon missionary finds...
- Mothers of kidnapped Bountiful girls speak out
- Mountain lion caught in Foothill neighborhood...
- 5 reasons why Utah is a great place to live
- Supporters for traditional marriage... 163
- Pro same-sex marriage group responds to... 84
- 5 reasons why Utah is a great place to... 38
- Police release names of officers... 37
- Mitt Romney to campaign for Mia Love in... 18
- Can Utah solve its surprising binge... 17
- The ghosts under our feet: 88... 10
- Martin MacNeill gets maximum sentence... 10