County Commission Chairman Brent Morris, who announced in January that air and water issues would top his priority list this year, has been elected chairman of the state's new ad hoc advisory committee on particulate pollution.

Morris welcomes the new appointment to the 15-member committee because, he said, the group's efforts will play a direct role in controlling fine particulate pollution known as PM-10."I'm definitely excited to be part of it, because PM-10 is one of our most devastating health threats. My thrust is for clean air, and I'm excited to be part of an effort to minimize PM-10's effect on our health."

Morris said the new committee's purpose is "to provide recommendations to the Utah Air Conservation Committee concerning issues involved in controlling PM-10 particulate-matter pollution."

He said the committee also will review the state's implementation plan for enforcing federal PM-10 regulations and will recommend implementation strategies and alternative methods for controlling PM-10.

The committee has until May 15 to submit its recommendations to the Air Conservation Committee, after which a final report will be prepared by June 1.

"Once the final draft is done, we will hold public hearings starting June 15.' Morris said the state's final implementation plan must be submitted to the EPA by Sept. 29.

Once approved, the state will have three years to implement the plan.

Morris said Utah was supposed to have a state implementation plan in place last year. "But just because everybody's late doesn't mean it's OK."

Members of the PM-10 ad hoc committee include politicians and representatives from industry, the public, the Utah Department of Transportation and local city and county health departments.

The ad hoc committee comprises four subcommittees, each of which will examine different sources of PM-10 pollution. The subcommittees will examine regulations regarding sanding and salting of roads during winter months, check other states' efforts to restrict use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, make an inventory of particlute-producing industries in Utah and Salt Lake counties and look into the use of diesel fuel and possible alternatives to diesel.

Morris said the group's next meeting will be March 29. Over the next two weeks the Bureau of Air quality will study available technology for controlling PM-10.