Environmental Groups to Sue EPA for Not Enforcing Air Quality Standards in Utah  |  Environmental Leader



By Jennifer Hermes, Environmental Leader

A handful of community, conservation and public-health groups announced plans to sue the EPA for what they call a “[failure] to enforce air quality standards in northern Utah and parts of Arizona that limit particulate pollution from fossil fuels, industrial livestock operations and other sources.”

The notice of intent to sue was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Westside Coalition and SLC Air Protectors.

“The EPA has previously determined that the Salt Lake area has particulate matter pollution from soot, smoke and other sources that is high enough to trigger heart attacks, strokes, asthma, bronchitis and even death,” the groups wrote. The affected areas include Salt Lake and Davis counties along with portions of Weber, Box Elder and Tooele.

Utah’s air quality board was required to submit its plan to clean up air pollution last summer, but just approved the plan this week. The delay was caused by “technical issues with the model being used,” Utah Air Quality Director Bryce Bird said (via the Associated Press). The plan will be submitted to the EPA in the coming weeks, he said. 

A campaign manager for the Center for Biological Diversity told Fox 13 in Salt Lake City that deadlines have been repeatedly missed and that the EPA has “kind of let it slide.” 

The groups blame “Trump’s EPA” for not enforcing air quality standards. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality says it has been taking steps to improve air quality and that the state will begin to come into compliance in 2019.

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