SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is among three states in the West to share $30 million in federal grants to cut down on air pollution, with four specific projects that will change out wood burning stoves and replace dirty diesel engines.
Logan will get more than $6 million of the $12.7 million awarded to Utah from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Air quality is a key issue for the health of our citizens and for future economic development," said Logan Mayor Holly Daines.
"We are pleased to receive over $6 million in EPA grant funds to help reduce diesel emissions by replacing older trucks as well as to change out wood burning appliances, both of which create a significant impact on our Cache Valley airshed."
Salt Lake City and Provo each received grants of $3.1 million to change out wood burning appliances.
"These grants will enable states and local agencies to improve air quality in areas most affected by air pollution," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "EPA is committed to supporting clean air projects that will reduce air pollution in nonattainment areas and enhance public health."
Other recipients include Fairbanks, Alaska; San Joaquin Valley in California; and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California.
EPA's Targeted Airshed Grants are used to support clean air projects in areas facing the highest levels of ground level ozone or fine particulate matter called PM2.5.
In 2017, Congress funded $30 million to reduce pollution in nonattainment areas the EPA determined were ranked as the top five most polluted areas relative to ozone, annual PM2.5 or 24-hour PM2.5 standards.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality will administer the money, which clean air advocates say will be a significant catalyst to reducing pollutants from wood smoke.
"We are working closely with the Division of Air Quality. In the next few weeks and months our jobs will be to go into the neighborhoods and homes and speak to individuals to give them the proper information," said Thom Carter, executive director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership.
Carter said it costs about $4,000 to replace a wood burning stove with a gas stove.7 comments on this story
With the help of contributions from the Eccles Foundation, Chevron and Andeavor refineries, the organization has helped about 50 households make the transition by providing a quarter of the funding.
The $3.1 million grants for Provo, Salt Lake City and Logan for wood stoves will likely help to offset an even greater portion of the cost, he said.
"We will target vulnerable neighborhoods that rely heavily on wood burning," he said.
According to the Utah Clear Air Partnership, using a natural gas stove instead of a wood burning stove eliminates 95 percent of associated emissions.