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Health, Science & Environment

Local Clean Air Advocates Challenge EPA

Andrea Smardon

Clean air advocates filed a legal challenge last week against the US Environmental Protection Agency, claiming a new policy allows some coal-fired power plants to continue releasing haze-causing pollutants in Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.  Environmental organization HEAL Utah was one of the groups who filed the challenge with the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. 

The EPA’s Air Pollution Plan is designed to restore clear skies over the country’s national parks and wilderness areas.  But HEAL Utah’s policy director Matt Pacenza says the plan does not do enough to limit sulfur dioxide emissions. 

“Not only is Utah not doing enough to clean up pollution from its coal power plants, but the EPA is failing to make Utah do that.  So once the EPA approved Utah’s plan specifically for sulfur dioxides from coal power plants, we felt like we had no choice but to try to go to court and seek relief, and hopefully end up in a situation where we’re putting the best possible pollution control technologies on our coal plants.”

Pacenza acknowledges that states have come a long way on cleaning up pollution from coal power plants, but he says Utah should do more to employ the safest and best pollution-control technologies available.   

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