SALT LAKE CITY -- Gov. Gary Herbert says he is serious about cleaning up the air along the Wasatch Front and has announced the creation of the Clean Air Action Team to address ongoing air-quality issues in the state.
At a Tuesday morning news conference, Herbert announced the creation of the 38-member CAAT team, which is charged with reviewing and recommending regulatory and statutory remedies to the state's air woes.
Herbert called the team's formation an ambitious step in the effort to clean the Beehive State's air and said it is not a temporary, feel-good approach to better air quality.
He said the group will not encounter any sacred cows in looking at options.
"We're interested in real solutions and better outcomes. I know this will not be easy, I have no illusions about that," Herbert said.
"I expect this is a challenge we can all accept and embrace. It will only happen if we work together."
The team includes three mayors and a mix of state officials from different agencies, as well as five state lawmakers, including Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and Rep. Edward Redd, R-Logan, a physician.
Representatives from the health care community, industry and local businesses are also on the team.
Envision Utah will play a leadership role in bringing team members together and facilitating any recommendations.
Terry Marasco, executive director of Utah Moms for Clean Air, is also on the 38-person panel. He told the Standard-Examiner he hopes the big group will be broken down into smaller components to address different areas of air quality.
Cherise Udell, head of Utah Moms for Clean Air, is already worried that the group is missing key components, despite its 38 members.
There are too few scientists in the group, such as Dr. Robert Gillies, a state climatologist, she said. The team also needs more problem-solvers such as engineers and atmospheric scientists, she added.
Amanda Smith, executive director of Environmental Quality for Utah, thinks the governor has brought the right people together, with the right organization to head it.
Envision Utah has a track record of bringing large groups of people together to address tough issues, she said.
Dan Lofgren, chairman of the board of directors of Envision Utah, promised the group will have an independent and open process in looking at air-quality concerns.
"We have a work to do. It's a work at which we are very good. It's what we do," Lofgren said of addressing future concerns and bringing stakeholders together.
Herbert said the state is already moving forward in addressing air quality and that numbers show a net reduction of 191 tons of pollutants from 2002 to 2008.
He said air-quality standards in Utah are within federal guidelines 95 percent of the time.
"That's not an acceptable statistic for us. One day of bad air is one day too many."