Proposed changes in Utah Air Conservation regulations regarding open burning don't sit well with Utah County mayors, who say enforcement of the changes would be difficult.
County residents at a public hearing in Provo last week protested the proposal, which would prohibit open burning of clippings, bushes, plants and tree prunings in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Utah counties. Such burning in other Utah counties would not be prohibited.The proposal, however, would not prohibit burning related to "agricul-tural/horticultural operations" or impose burning periods on agricultural operations.
The Utah Air Conservation Committee is proposing that an operation be deemed agricultural/horticultural if it meets the state's definition of "land in agricultural use."
To qualify as agricultural land under the definition, "an operator must devote greater than five acres to agricultural use . . . and earn a gross income of $1,000 per year from the operation," according to a conservation committee memorandum. However, "the revenue and taxation statute does not require that both these conditions be satisfied together."
During their Council of Governments meeting last week, several county mayors said they oppose the proposals and plan to send objection letters to the Utah Department of Health.
Mapleton Mayor Everet Predmore, COG chairman, said he has been inundated with complaints. Other mayors said they hadn't received notice of the proposals or of Friday's public hearing, and expressed concerns about the added burden on county landfills if burning weren't allowed.
Goshen Mayor Randy Staheli said the proposals make little sense in his area. "We live 35 miles away from Provo and Orem, with a mountain range between us."
American Fork Mayor Kent Evans wished the state good luck enforcing the proposals.
"I have one lady who'll be standing up with a shotgun if they try to stop her," he said. "She's been burning clippings for years and will continue to do so."
Added another mayor, "If they don't allow some open burning, we're in for trouble."