Once again Utah has taken the path of least resistance. Though we talk about clean air and quality of life, the truth is that we don’t want to undergo the challenges to make it happen. Rather than follow EPA guidelines to clean up our polluted air, we pursue litigation. This is the current issue concerning regional haze over all five of Utah’s national parks.
Even though the use of coal has declined nationwide, from supplying 51% of our total electricity needs to 30%, replaced with lower cost natural gas and renewable energy sources, it will be here for many years. That’s why it is important to use the best methods available to limit its environmental damage.
Currently Utah and Rocky Mountain Power is in litigation with the EPA to follow its own plan rather than install Selected Catalytic Reduction — SCRs — on the Hunter and Huntington coal fired plants in Emery County. Pollutants from those plants contribute to the worsening haze over Arches, Capital Reef, Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion national parks, reducing visibility by as much as 80% and becoming a possible deterrent to visitors.
Our national parks add to Utah’s uniqueness and are economic drivers for our state economy. Revenue from outdoor recreation tops $12 billion dollars annually. We cannot afford to jeopardize our health or funding by settling for weak policies.
Let the Air Quality Board members know by April 17 you support stronger EPA actions to limit regional haze. Take a stand to clear Utah’s skies.