The Utah County Council of Governments will oppose upcoming air-quality deadlines and fight proposals - including "blanket countywide prohibitions" - developed by several state clean-air committees.
COG, composed of mayors from Utah County cities, has also voted to "refuse any proposal for the counties or municipalities to support financially, to any degree, the promotion or accomplishment of the radical proposals of the air-quality groups. . . ."The approved recommendations were prepared by Elk Ridge Councilman Jay Prather, a member of the state's PM10 Advisory Committee. The recommendations are part of a report he prepared after attending meetings by the PM10 committee, the Utah Air Conservation Committee and the Governor's Clean Air Commission.
He said the data and suggestions so far developed by those committees can best be described as "specious, sophistic, spurious and fallacious." He said they are working with insufficient and outdated data.
Prather said Utah is being asked "to quietly accept all this and submit to incredible strictures and expense - governmentally and individually."
The Air Conservation Committee's attitude of "no industrial growth" threatens both Geneva Steel and the county's industrial growth, Prather said. He said opposition groups "are to be ignored and the plan steamrolled through regardless of other considerations."
Prather said the COG should be especially concerned about a proposal by Utah County Commissioner Brent Morris, a member of the Clean Air Commission and PM10 committee, to have counties and municipalities contribute toward financing air-quality measures.
"This heaps insult on injury when it is considered that the state and private organizations involved in this movement have access to multiple sources of relatively unlimited funds," Prather said. "Such a suggestion is tantamount to making a lynch victim pay for the rope to hang him."
Morris said the report will do nothing but hurt Utah County's credibility.
"The paper that was presented by Mr. Prather reflected, in my opinion, a cavalier, sophomoric, Neanderthal mentality to our air-quaility problem. The vote of confidence they made last night was an insult to themselves."
He said the council should have listened to another point of view before supporting Prather's recommendations.
"And it doesn't have to be from Brent Morris, because I know I don't have any credibility with them," Morris said. "In reality, everything is creeping at a snail's pace. What they want to do is slow the snail down."
Utah County Commissioner Malcolm Beck expressed concern about COG's approach, but said he agrees that counties and municipalities shouldn't get stuck funding the committees' recommendations.
"The state has primacy, and they should provide the funding and work closely with local people," he said. "I think there has to be an organized way to solve the problem. The deadlines shouldn't be stampeded without understanding the problems."
However, Beck said, he disagrees with a recommendation by Prather to "seek legal counsel to stop the panicked rush."
Beck said, "I think the Legislature can handle it. We don't need to get into that. I think we're intelligent enough people to stay out of litigation."