Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State Will Blow EPA Deadline For Winter Pollution Cleanup Plan

Utah’s air quality regulators say they’re still working on a comprehensive plan to clean up winter pollution, but they probably won’t get it done until weeks or even months after it’s due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Computer models have yet to show that the state has a successful strategy for reducing the number of winter days when people in northern Utah get stuck breathing unhealthy air. That’s in spite of more than two dozen laws state regulators have implemented since 2009.

“We’ve put in every strategy that we can identify as being available,” says Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality. “We identified every source of air pollution that is a precursor, and we’ve incorporated every regulation that has been put in place anywhere else in the country.”

Bird’s staff told the Utah Air Quality Board Wednesday that they don’t have the data they need to deliver an acceptable plan to the EPA by its December deadline.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.