83°F
Sponsored by

Senate committee sits on bill that's designed to clean up Utah's bad air

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Clean air advocates are calling it the most important air quality bill of the 2014 legislative session. Senate bill 164 would allow Utah regulators to create laws that are stricter than federal regulations; currently Utah law forbids it.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Clean air advocates are calling it the most important air quality bill of the 2014 legislative session. Senate bill 164 would allow Utah regulators to create laws that are stricter than federal regulations; currently Utah law forbids it.

 

It's hard to argue there isn't a problem, but the solution to cleaning up Utah’s dirty air seems to be eluding lawmakers.

 

Senator Gene Davis thought he had the answer with SB 164.

 

"It repeals a part of the environmental protection act from 24-25 years ago,” explained Sen. Davis.

 

The bill would strike current language that forbids Utah air quality regulators from making rulings that are more stringent than current federal regulations.

 

"It's pretty difficult with the standards that's been set in the law and I think we can see we haven't progressed very rapidly in doing a lot of clean air issues and other environmental issues in the state of Utah because it's very easy to dodge behind this law,” said Sen. Davis.

 

HEAL Utah’s Policy Director Matt Pacenza also spoke before the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Committee Tuesday. He told ABC 4 Utah, "There's tens of thousands of Utahans who are deeply, deeply concerned about our air and today's bill was maybe the single most important in the session.”

 

Pacenza says it's time to stop tying our regulators hands. "We heard over and over again whenever a good idea like that comes up it sort of gets squashed because people point to that current state law and they say oh, you can't be stricter than the EPA.”

 

Members of the Wasatch Clean Air Coalition, Mothers for Clean Air and Clean Air Now also spoke before the committee, but their concerns seemed to be drowned out by representatives of the state’s Mining Association, the Petroleum Association and Utah’s Manufacturer's Association - all opposed to the bill.

 

James Holtkamp, Chairman of the Utah Manufacturer’s Association told the committee, "As long as there is a benefit to public health and the environment in the state of Utah, we will participate. What we don't want to see are more stringent rules that cost a lot of money that have no benefit."

 

Pacenza told ABC 4 Utah, "Unfortunately the conversation was dominated by industry that doesn't like stricter rules and the senators chose not to act."

         

The bill wasn't tabled, it just wasn't voted on. Sen. Davis hopes to get another crack at it this legislative session.

 

"What they've asked me to do is to go back and find a way to make it palatable to all sides,” said Sen. Davis.

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus
local-businesses.png
cars.png dixie-local.jpg
Click Here for Your Chance to Win Utah State Fair Tickets!

Popular Stories on Facebook